Monday, May 31, 2021

Can we (finally) talk? Or is censorship making us disbelieve the experts?

 I check on conspiracy site to find out details behind rumors censored or under reported in the MSM. Much of them are deliberate disinformation that are lies at worse or just exaggerations of facts taken out of context, as I pointed out in my previous essay.

But sometimes you find hints of stories that are not being reported that later turn out to be true.

So what are some of the stories that I have run across recently?

Well, that part about Herd Immunity is probably true.

And if a previous Covid infection makes you immune, why are we wasting our precious vaccines on low risk folks who are immune to the virus? Yes, there are breakthru second cases, but these are rare (as are break thru cases after the shot: Often because the person has problems with their immune system, or maybe the shot was given wrong or not stored correctly).

The lastest on how those who had a mild or even asymptomatic infection and are now immune:

 

his summary: immunity could last up to 2 years. and the youtube site includes links to the medical literature.

This is not only important because it will free up vaccine for high risk people, but because it means you might not need the shot. 

If so, it means all those "Vaccine passports" need to be updated to include those who have antibodies from previous infections and don't need a shot.

Healthy folks will have the choice of being sick or getting a shot: sort of like how healthy folks often didn't get the Influenza vaccine, which was mainly given to old folks until recent years, or how parents sometimes just let their kids get chicken pox instead of another shot that doesn't last that long.

the next "conspiracy theory" coming out is the use of drugs to treat of prevent infection.

The most notorious one was Hydorxychloroquin: Which did work but not well, but was met immediately with a huge publicity scare of how dangerous it was (because one woman used fishtank cleaner to suicide her husband, with no one noticing that this method was pushed by pro suicide sites in the past as a way to kill ourself).

Other Studies used the drug late in the course of the disease, when any anti viral medicine wouldn't stop the hyperimmune problem that caused the fatal pulmonary collapse, and another study used 3 times the usual dose and voila, some people died.

But there are other drugs out there that similarly have been found to work  but are underused. 

The big one for the third world is Ivermectin: Because it is cheap and available in poor countries.

Here is a video from Dr. C from  5 months ago.


He links to this study here

and here is a later video.



....

So why isn't it being used?


and if you prescribe it, you will lose your medical license.



Anecdotes on outlier sites say it is now being used in Mexico and India and has lowered their infection rate.


Daily COVID-19 cases in India decreased in the days before May 17 — but only after a nearly vertical rise that started in April and peaked May 8. The Indian government has recommended limited use of the two drugs for COVID-19, but there is no evidence that their use led to the drop in cases.

this article in Nature magazine laments that Ivermectin is being used in Latin America (where you can just buy it without a doctor's presciption) . This is dangerous of course, but hey, so is taking antibiotics unsupervised by a doc (causing antibiotic resistance) or taking that ulcer drugs for early abortion (seen as birth control, not as killing your kid in that culture).

it might mess up their beautiful lab trials.

Here is their headline (I'm not making it up).

Latin America’s embrace of an unproven COVID treatment is hindering drug trials Unchecked ivermectin use in the region is making it difficult to test the anti-parasite drug’s effectiveness against the coronavirus.

there are other ways to figure out if it works: You do epidemiological studies. This is how using masks and quarantine has been shown to cut the rate of spread.

and again, the problem needs to be put into three categories: 

1> does it work as prevention, using it early when symptoms first appear or you have been a contact with a case. 

or 2> and giving it to you in the hospital, in the late stage of the disease (when cutting the viral load may not stop the pulmonary complications due to hyperimmune system).

Sigh.

so follow the science? Ah, but what about when the gatekeepers of scientific journals stop you from publishing?

Or how about the phrase: follow the experts?

But this is the big question: the experts were wrong in the past, so why should we believe them now?

One problem here is that the experts are often the same experts who denied that a lab leak (probably accidental) probably resulted in the outbreak. And now more rumors are actually being printed saying: Hey, maybe that did happen, ya think?

when Trumpieboy hinted about this last year, the trolls silenced him. But Biden in the savior president now, so hey maybe we can allow that story to be printed.

Sigh. 

Again I ask: So if the press/China/The WHO/Fauci/etc. lied last year about Covid's origin, why should we believe them now about anything?

But of course, they will gaslight us and say: You didn't read that. You are crazy. Nothing here, folks just move along.

as for not using medicine that hasn't gone thru trials: 

Remember the story of Balto and the Nome run to get diphtheria anti toxin serum to Nome Alaska?

February 2, 1925 was a day of life-saving (and, dare we say, dogged) determination, for that was the day a dog sled team with Balto in the lead entered Nome, Alaska with an emergency supply of diphtheria serum.

Child after child in the small and isolated town had fallen ill with the potentially deadly disease. With ice blocking the harbor, and winter weather grounding planes, a more than 600-mile-long dog sled relay was the only hope.

On January 27, the first team of dogs set off, while the rest of the nation held its breath. For six long days, a series of dog teams battled blinding blizzards and bitter sub-zero cold to get the serum through.

Though more than 150 dogs in all took part in the record-breaking run, it was Balto who led the final 53-mile stretch, and wound up getting most of the glory.

balto-dog-sled-620.jpg
The dog sled team led by Balto completed the 674-mile trek through the frozen north.   CBS NEWS


the back story of that race is that the doctors who first used the anti serum never finished the "double blind" scientific study on the treatment, because they saw it saved lives of those treated, and they didn't have the heart to deny the lifesaving treatment from the control group.

In contrast, in the notorious Tuskegee syphilis study, the men in the control group to see if they did better without the then toxic and not always successful treatment for syphilis, were never offered the newer, much less toxic treatment of penicillin when it was found to cure that disease.

One wonders if a similar scandal will be in the history books on Covid, especially when the story was essentially censored from the main sites of news.

Sigh.

my point is that if people think something works, they will take it, and get angry if you prevent them from doing so.

We were told a story in medical school about Onion poultices.

In the good old days, they used onion pou;tices for pneumonia, and so during the Spanish Influenza epidemic, one husband asked if he should use an onion poultice to help his sick pregnant wife. The doctor of course said no: it wouldn't work. 

The problem? The mortality of pregnant women during that epidemic was very high and nothing worked.

The husband didn't use the onion poultice, and of course the poor woman died of influenza. But to the day he died, the husband would come up to that physician and accuse him saying: She would have lived if you let me use that onion poultice.

Sigh.

------------------

semi related item: AnnAlthouse admits she bought a gun last year: and wonders why this MSM article didn't figure out that the upsurge in gun ownership was due to riots and crime and defunding police rather than due to being crazy and paranoid from the quarantine.

I shudder at this: Because the dirty little secret is that if you don't train with weapons, and don't know how to use them, you will freeze and the bad guy will shoot you with your own gun. Or you might accidentally shoot someone, or your kid might accidentally shoot his friend when playing with the gun.

I had a waiver not to carry a gun when I was in the Nat Guard, but Lolo, who served at the end of WWII here, did know how to shoot and always kept a weapon in his bedside table when we lived in the USA in case addicts would break into the house looking for drugs.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Podcast of the week

 Mythgard Academy and Tolkien Professor Corey Olsen have an ongoing podcast on sci fi/fantasy books.

The latest: An in depth discussion of Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.



...
A classic story on how to start a revolution. 

With subplots on group marriage (well, it's Heinlein after all), and a computer who learns to make jokes whose name is Mycroft (quick: Trivia question: Where did he get that name? Answer).

I have the paperback in my collection, but for those who didn't grow up on Heinlein, you can listen to the audiobook here: 

...
..................

in other news, we are watching the K drama Vincenzo.

I usually avoid crime dramas, but this one has a lot of twists and turns and unexpected plot lines in it.

How to stop the bad guys from tearing down your building by throwing a party.

.....

Bringing opera to the masses at a time when the PC are trying to destroy such things:

...

.....

Friday, May 28, 2021

China and Russia behind fake news on covid vaccine?

 

.....
Austin Bay has two articles that discuss the problem: Why the KGB and China are spreading misinformation about western vaccines
 
Twenty-first-century Chinese and Russian lies have become both more pervasive and more sophisticated in targeting audiences with disinformation that seeds fear, doubt, despair, anger and confusion.
In fall 2020, China's virus disinformation campaign added another target: Western-manufactured vaccines, particularly the U.S.-backed Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. According to the U.S. State Department, Russian operatives also smear Western vaccines. They magnify fears that the vaccines' approval process was hasty.
State's Global Engagement Center recently released a list of Russian disinformation outlets targeting vaccines that are "directly linked to Russian intelligence services." They "inject" misleading tales of risky side effects and doubtful efficacy into mainstream media.
Russian and Chinese smears have a marketing angle. Russia is peddling its Sputnik V vaccine as a medically equivalent alternative to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. It isn't. China touts its Sinovac vaccine, which is about half as effective as Pfizer and Moderna.
and in another essay, Austen Bay discusses the anti Trump paranoia behind the anti vax campaign: because it was a triumph of American ingenuity but to admit it might help Trump in his campaign.

Operation Warp Speed, created by former President Donald Trump's administration, rates as a medical Manhattan Project. Within a year, Warp Speed developed at least three vaccines effective against COVID-19/the Wuhan virus... The administration treated the virus as a national security threat.
Despite intense political and media criticism, it authorized 200 million doses each from Pfizer and Moderna, and then 100 million from Johnson & Johnson. In December, federal regulators approved the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for emergency use. On Feb. 28, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention approved the J&J jab.
The internet and social media organs explode to the point of bloat with hot accusations and denunciations regarding vaccine effectiveness. Some of the anger and rebukes may be fed by Chinese, Russian and Iranian disinformation campaigns. I'll discuss those in an upcoming column. There is evidence the Chinese and the Russians are attacking Western-developed vaccines so they can scare the susceptible and sell their suspect potions to poor and desperate nations. As far as the CDC is concerned, Moderna and Pfizer have proved their worth.
Sigh.

Alas, one that sees these stories picked up by more than those who hate Trumpieboy: right now the anti vax propaganda is being spread among the "trad catholic"community, who should know better since Catholics have run a large percentage of hospitals in both the USA and in Africa and Asia, and have been at the forefront in vaccination programs and/or training local personnel so they can help their own people.

(been there, done that).

This is why I say that this whole kerfuffle is nothing new. When I worked in Africa, we had this type of disinformation spread in the communist inspired media (e.g. radio or via communist anti government types): who claimed we were helping the government commit genocide against the locals.

This type of rumor encouraged atrocities against mission clinics, but that was okay because the ones behind the rumors hated Christian missionaries. 

When I worked in Africa, those atrocities were by communists, but now we see the Islamic crazies picking up these rumors, so voila, a mullah reads anti vax propaganda and preaches vaccines are evil, and then they kill the doctors/nurses etc. who are giving out vaccines to save lives, even when those doctors and nurses are good Muslms.

But don't blame the Mullahs: African bishops bought the rumor that giving tetanus vaccine in prenatal clinics (to prevent neonatal tetanus, alas a common problem) was poisoning moms and causing miscarriage: the evil HCG in the vaccine rumor that has been going on in a dozen separate countries since at least the early 1990s.

Sigh.

But why condemn the mullahs or the African bishops when they read these "Facts", not just in local papers but on western newspapers who repeat these lies. 

Right now, the crazies are saying the same thing about Bill Gates for helping fund vaccine programs that had been going on for 30 years before his money helped them to expand. 
 
He is for population control, ergo his shots must be evil. But the dirty little secret is that if a mom knows all of her kids will live to grow up to be adults, she doesn't have to have 8 kids: She can limit her family to 2 or 3, send them to school, and become more prosperous. So by saving the lives of children, you actually decrease the population increase. But it's easier to say evil evil than to see the big picture. 
And no, I don't like the New World Order puppet masters, but the paranoia is out of bounds here.

A lot of the nonsense is quoting "facts"taken out of context, or  claiming thousands of deaths from "vaccines", without any evidence. It used to be the left greenies doing this, but now the Trad Catholics are joining the hysteria. I discuss one such study pushed in a trad Catholic site here. Fifty years old, small numbers, and never replicated.

A variation of this is the hysteria about the Dengue vaccine here in the Philippines: Poor screening meant that kids who should never have gotten the vaccine did get it and a half dozen died. As a result of the hysteria, a couple hundred kids died because they didn't get measles or other vaccines.

But what about the Dengue epidemic in the Philippines? Did deaths decrease?

But of course the background of that is a question if someone was bribed to let them use poor kids in Manila as guinea pigs. 

and from a public health standpoint, cleaning up the water in the ditches to kill mosquitoes might have been a better alternative.

Sigh.

Trust is a delicate thing. The black community in the USA still distrusts the medical profession, partly because so many docs talk down to them, partly because they don't have regular doctors so have to rely on a stranger in a crowded clinic (who often is a foreigner who might not understand cultural nuances in the inner city community) but a lot because of the Tuskegee experiment back in the 1940s.

Sigh.


But now distrust is spreading into all authority figures


One example: the AstraZeneca vaccine.

AGGH> BLOOD CLOTS (mainly in young women, but not a peep if any of the victims were on medicines such as birth control pills, that also cause blood clots). 

 I have an illustration, but for some reason Blogger won't let me post it. 

here in the Philippines, they have decided after a pause to use it, but only to give it to the elderly, so we got the shot here.

and in Bulacan, which has been in quarantine and has many cases, Joy's father got the Chinese vaccine. Because it is better than no vaccine at all.

Dirty little secret: Without vaccines, the economy stays shut, and people will die: Of infections they can't fight off because of malnutrition, of undiagnosed or undertreated cancer or high blood pressure or diabetes.

 Malnutrition and poverty is terrible right now, and the only reason there is no revolt here is that ordinary folks still like Duterte.

Duterte, knowing the USA and their "human rights"types are trying to destroy him has tried to make nice with China, importing a lot of their vaccine to save lives here, but alas ordinary folks just don't trust China.



In Manila, stories are saying a lot of folks are waiting for the Pfizer vaccine, and not getting the Sinovax version: no one here trusts the Chinese because China is the source of shoddy goods and fake medicines, and lies about a lot of things while trying to steal our fish and territory in the West Philippine Sea.

But why is our social media is full of stories about problems with the western vaccines, but not the Chinese vaccine? Duh. Wonder where all those rumors in the social media came from? 

So again we circle back to "Cui Bono": "who benefits" from the anti western vax rumors.

Well, the anti vax activists get ego gratification they are wonderful for their tweets etc. 

The Chinese get to keep the economy shut down so they can bribe countries with their lousy vaccine and act aggressively against Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Viet Nam and India, all without being in the headlines.

The Russians? They too have a vaccine, but hey, they are mainly spreading rumors because they hate the west.

Sigh.

the anti vax movement goes back over 100 years. It was a cause by the back-to- nature/vegan/vegetarian/socialist/anti vivisection types (e.g. George Bernard Shaw who opposed small pox vaccine) who hate all modern medicine.


Resistance to Vaccination

Resist the forcing of dead corruption into the blood of children.”
— Homer Bartlett Wilson

“It is no longer medicine but for the most part destruction.”
— William Young

As governments began to compel their citizens to be vaccinated, resistance to the procedure grew. Anti-vaccination societies became especially vocal during the late nineteenth century. Many anti-vaccinators believed that vaccination was, as George Bernard Shaw put it, a “filthy piece of witchcraft” which did more harm than good.

A group of men, women, and children, black and white, observe a physician as he vaccinates the tattooed left arm of a burly young man.

Detail of a physician as he vaccinates the tattooed left arm of a burly young man.

Governments often provided vaccination free of charge to the poor.

Opponents of compulsory vaccination were varied. Some saw the issue in terms of civil liberties, arguing that governments should not force citizens to undergo any medical treatment against their will. Others believed vaccination was dangerous, insisting that “thousands...are killed annually by vaccination.” And still others, especially in India, found the use of a vaccine derived from cows to be unacceptable.

Cover of Killed by vaccination : a few facts for the consideration of legislators, and others, who uphold the useless, cruel, and inhuman law of compulsory vaccination, under cover of which, as has been stated in the House of Commons, children are slaughtered by wholesale compiled by William Young The opening page of A Brief narrative of eight years’ suffering caused by vaccination by Homer Bartlett Weston. The second line says Copy of a letter to the Governor of the State of Massachusetts, U.S.A.

The words a few facts for the consideration of legislators, and others, who uphold the useless, cruel, and inhuman law of compulsory vaccination, under cover of which, as has been stated in the House of Commons, children are slaughtered by wholesale  from Killed by vaccination compiled by William Young.

duh.





the more things change, the more they stay the same.

sigh.
============

update: Freakonomics PODCAST on persuasion.
Key quote:

* * * We like to think that we make up our own minds. That we make our own choices — about how we spend our time and money; what we watch and wear; how we think about the issues of the day. But the truth is, we are influenced into these choices. In ways large and small — and often invisible. Some of this influence may be harmless, even fun; and some of it isn’t harmless at all.
Robert CIALDINI: That’s right.
Stephen DUBNER: You make a really provocative but resonant argument that a lot of behaviors are copycat behaviors, including workplace or school shootings, terrorist attacks, product tampering. What should media outlets do about those events? You may say their coverage is dangerous. They say it’s their duty to cover it intensely. Why are you more right than they are?
CIALDINI: Because of that last word, “intensely.” They give us the news. They are invaluable for that. The problem is when they sensationalize it for ratings. That bothers me because the actions described are contagious. We’re seeing it right now with shootings, just a cluster of them. One after another after another, because people are learning from the news what other disturbed people do to resolve their issues.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The Volcano that is left out of history

We live within sight of an extinct volcano, and not too far from Mt Pinatubo.

Like earthquakes, typhoons, floods, landslides, and Dengue fever outbreaks, it is something we live with and cope.


Right now Taal is threatening to erupt, but hey, that is south of Manila so no problem.

But volcanoes can do more than hurt locals: They can change the climate.

 Tambora, ok. Mt Pinatubo. Fine. Yellowstone? Nah. Probably not. The Siberian traps? Nah... too long ago.

Ah but what about Mt Paektu?

Ah, unless you are a KPop fan, you probably never heard of Mt Paektu, which in legend was the origin of the Korean race.

Here is a discussion of this volcano, which lies between North Korea and China. So why is it there when the ring of fire techtonic plates are hundreds of miles away? Big geology puzzle (outside my area of expertise).

,

,,,,The mountain is the legendary birthplace of the Korean people, a myth that still echoes today: especially in North Korea:
  .

..and hey: the south Korean K Pop groups aren't the only ones who can sing.

..
you can find a link to download it on the Slovenian rock group Laiback's album Party Songs. NYTimes article on when they visited NoKorea LINK
and shrugged off criticism of the tour with the usual moral equivalence

 “Of course it’s a totalitarian country,” Novak said, with a shrug. “But which country is not totalitarian nowadays?”
Sigh. 

And although it won't replace the K Pop phenomenum, it won't be for lack of trying. Not only did they find a communist rock group to sing their praises, but they have this version out to attract Frankie Yankovic fans:
 


Hmm....reminds one of this classic cartoon:

Monday, May 24, 2021

Who do you say I am? A multicultural question.

 In the USA, we define ourselves by our jobs. So I identified myself not by my family or my husband, but by my job, as a physician. This put me into context in a society where work is the focus of life.

This has all sorts of implications to society: Losing a job is a big thing that is more than losing a paycheck: it is devestating to the ego, mainly for the breadwinner i.e. men, but also nowadays for women: because the feminist movement stressed working was important.

Before feminism, women in the USA saw themselves as part of their nuclear family, and were valued as mothers and wives: the saying went "As American as motherhood and apple pie". Women did work back then, but it was usually secondary to being married, or sometimes for single women, secondary for a woman caring for her elderly parents.

 But now with easy divorce, sex outside of marriage being allowed, abortion if you are pregnant and your lover decides to dump responsibility, etc. women are sort of forced to be breadwinners. Luckily, service jobs, where women predominate, have not been hit as hard with unemployement.

Yet biologically, women have caring for others and motherhood in their DNA: as Edith Stein's lectures on feminism noted, women in the work place still approached their work in a different, feminine way, bringing the gift of femininity and mother hood to their jobs. (something that has been documented in medical circles, by the way, when they compared the way women doctors work vs the way male doctors worked. Empathy matters.).

well, anyway, GetReligion blog has an article about this article where a feminist who decided to become a mother who was attacked en mass by the RedGuard of the Twittermob.

more HERE.

the articles and the twitter storm are mainly about the hostility of feminism against motherhood and marriage (something noted by Betty Frieden in this 1972 NTT article).

But why? 

Because mother hood is about others, not yourself.

One of the things they don’t tell you about having babies is that you don’t ever have a baby; you have your baby, which is, to you, the ur-baby, the sum of all babies. The moment they laid her damp rosy body on my chest, I knew she would envelop my world.

How dare mother nature (/s) tell me how to act, cry the frustrated feminists who then wonder why they are so unhappy. 

It's the hormones, stupid.

Or maybe blame evolution: without the feeling of love, who would put up with the mess of caring for a newborn?

All of this would be normally recognized by anyone in Grandmom's generation, but now to say this is taboo, even though there are biological, anthropological, societal, and biochemical reasons behind this ("follow the science"?).

But this negative comment on the commentary piece is what I find most ironic:

Journalist Aura Bogado had one of the odder takes: “I’m troubled by . . . Elizabeth Bruenig’s white extinction anxiety, which [in my opinion] informs their shared fixations on immigrant/Latina/Mexican motherhood. I wish publications hired Latina critics and opinion writers. For now, everything is about us… yet without us”.

Actually, she is right, but probably not in the way she thinks (i.e. this comment is about accusing the poor mom for being racist). 

You see, in Hispanic culture, as in Filipino culture, and the culture of many immigrant communities, one defines oneself as part of one's family. And not just the "nuclear"family, but as part of the extended family.

and this idea is ignored in the discussion: indeed, one suspects that those upper middle class "karens" criticizing the poor lady don't even recognize this concept.

If you ask a traditional African who he is, he will tell you the name of his parents and family. In the IHS, we often had to cooperate with extended family to get care for our patients. 

Here in the Philippines, when asked who I am, I reply with explanations of my husband and his family, who are an important family here in our town. That allows strangers to fit me into where I belong in our community, where friends and clan links are important.

This short clip is Greek, but also could explain how marriage into a Hispanic or Filipino or other immigrant culture is about marrying into a family.

The great divide is not just religion, but culture: and a lot of the problems in the USA (homelessness, drug use, out of wedlock families) are because of modern culture changes that work against the family: and even "remedies" such as cheap child care supplements are implemented because of the emphasis is on individuals, not in keeping family strong.

So no one discusses the main problem: That low wages and sending blue collar jobs overseas make it impossible to get a well paying job, so both parents have to work to get by, that an emphasis on "stuff" make it hard to be content with less, and that a lot of divorce is because of money problems, and because both parents are just plain worn out at the end of the day.


Saturday, May 22, 2021

It's the heat, not the "ouchie"

 Joy and I are registered on line to get the local AstaZeneca vaccine from the city, but because of crowds on the day we registered, they ran out of vaccine.

Then Joy had business in Manila today, so she made plans to go on Monday.

Ah, but the cook told me that her son, a tricycle driver, would take me and her daughter, the maid, would come with me to translate, so I went to the city gym early to get in line.

The lines were long but not packed as it was yesterday, so I stayed in line, finished getting my screening, and got the shot.

The entire procedure took 3 hours. And no, the shot didn't make me sick. 

But the hot weather did: it's been in the 90s all week, and the monsoon with it's afternoon cooling thunder showers hasn't quite arrived yet.

The gym did have fans and I was drinking cool water the entire time, but when I got home I was exhausted and ready to go back to bed, since I had been up since 4 am when Joy left for Manila and the dogs woke me to tell me that someone (her driver) was at the door.

So after the shot, I went to bed all after noon but I was up all evening and am now ready to go back to bed. I think I might be running a low grade fever, but no other problem so far.

The Gym, by the way, is not just used for basketball: it is also on a mound built up three feet from the street level, so is used as a evacuation center for our area of the city (where many of the poor live in the flood plane of the local rivers). Our home is also elevated just a bit. We only flooded once, when a local dam had an emergency water release to prevent overtopping, but even then we only flooded three inches, making a mess but not dangerous.

So anyway, I am protected, sort of. But due to the lack of enough vaccine, I won't be given the second shot until August. Presumably if I get Covid, I will have fewer symptoms or a less serious episode. This last fact is rarely discussed in the MSM or in the conspiracy anti vax sites.







Thursday, May 20, 2021

Family news: astrazeneca arrives in town

 As I have mentioned here before, our cook sleeps as the night watchman at Dr. Angie's office, often with her son when he is in town working. And two weeks ago, the wife of one of Dr. Angie's employees (a cousin of ours) got a mild case of covid, so they had to shut down and disinfect and quarantine for a week. No one else got sick, thank the Lord.

But now  our city has started giving out the covid vaccine to high risk folks: The cook is considered as high risk due to working at a medical office, hence she was screened and given an appointment to get the shot today at the local private hospital where Dr. Angie works.

She is not happy about this, of course, and when I told her to get the shot she said she wouldn't. But we still have the traditional family structures here, and since my husband Lolo died, Dr. Angie is the head of the family, so what she says is obeyed. The concept of family includes the family's long term servants who are considered as part of the family.

So I had Joy check with Dr. Angie if they are giving it out to elders, and she said they are starting registration and screening today at the local city Gymnasium. So we went and voila, long lines. But Joy went to a friend and she gave us an appointment to be screened at 1 pm and so we came back home.

The vaccine is the AstraZeneca vaccine: which is limited to older folks because of the problem of blood clots in younger women. There are still problems with allergies, TPP etc. but these are rare.

the plan is that this will only be given to the A1 thru A3 groups now: as an elder, I am in group A2. 

Joy is in A3 since she had cancer (?cured) but she is also in A1 since she is my caregiver, and so she is going to ask if she can get the shot too.

the gov't stopped giving the astrazeneca shot after reports of problems, but then decided it was safe for older folks (most of the clots were in women under 40). So they are giving it out before it expires, and have gotten new shipments that mean that they can give second shots to high risk patients in the high risk areas, and start giving it outside of the NCR (Manila area) where risk is lower.

Kuya is not getting the vaccine: because he is an anti vax type and won't even see a physician when he is sick, because he was raised as a doctor's kid, and just as preacher's kids turn atheist, or as the saying goes: cobbler's children go barefoot.

It rained two days ago, but it is again clear and very very hot. Kuya is still busy at the farm drying rice, and once the rain starts they will start preparing the fields.

I am staying indoors most of the time due to the heat, only going out in the early morning to let the dogs out into the garden to do their thing, and to feed the fish, and then in the late afternoon to walk the dogs.


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Free milk and Eggs if you get the shot in China

I am always being blasted on conservative discussion groups because I vigorously defend the Covid vaccinations.

Here, we are awaiting vaccines but the good news is that more are arriving, and the outbreak, which is most severe in the Manila and other cities, means that the cities have priority over our rural area. 

Quite a few people have told the pollsters here in the Philippines that they won't get the shot: I believe it, because our elderly cook and her (diabetic) daughter say they will refuse to take it because they are afraid of side effects.

You see: Here, even the cook and tricycle drivers have cellphone access to social media sites, and the anti vax posts on these sites have scared a lot of people. And of course, remembering the Dengue Vaccine debacle a couple years ago make people suspicious of any new vaccine.

Me? I get sick after shots (typhoid vaccine put me to be for two days and influenza made me feel lousy but hey, better than being sick). So I will probably get it if we start giving it to elders.

 I have not been following the news full time, but it seems that I have heard little about China's covid crisis. A lot of Asian countries that had few cases are now having a second wave, but so far China says they haven't had a problem.

But this caught my eye: From Weibo, their local social networking site: They are giving away Milk and eggs to encourage people to get the vaccine.

Australian news site had the story in April. LINK

  • As well as offering incentives, some provincial authorities briefly blacklisted unvaccinated people from welfare 
  • China has five locally made vaccines and will need to inoculate 10 million people a day to hit its targets
  • There have been controversies linked to domestically made jabs in the past, including the deaths of children

According to the article, some say another reason for the hesitation is that there has been no "second wave" of the virus outbreak.

and then there are the usual "anti vax" opinions: it doesn't protect everyone, it has side effects, and long term problems haven't been checked for because of the hurried turnout.

China aims to vaccinate 40 percent of their population by June.

In contrast, 60 percent of Americans have had at least one shot. (including most of our family there).

here, thanks to various bureaucratic delays screw ups in getting hold of the vaccine, less than 2 percent have been given a vaccine.

sigh. 

Some good news

 Guess who is back?



Why do we love the series? Because of the potboiler plots, but also for ordinary folks, it's nice to see the problems of the rich and famous.

,,,,,,,,,,,,
 a few essays back, I moaned that the MSM tends to ignore ordinary families.
Well, maybe not. This one is on Netflix:



and it is not just pro family and funny in a silly way, but might be prophetic:

.......

In this PC world, how did someone make a film that is pro gun, with an ex Marine as a hero, and also has sympathy for those coming into the US illegally: but also showing the problem of the cartels and smuggling dope.



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we have HBO and other movie channels, but more often we just watch videos in the evening: One US film or drama, and then a Korean drama (with subtitles).

We also have been watching lots of Agatha Christie films on youtube, and many British TV series like Rosemary and Thyme, or Heartbeat. The problem? These tend to disappear, as have the Columbo and Murder She wrote videos there. Luckily I downloaded them so we can still watch them.

Some K dramas and movies, are on Netflix or on youtube but we watch them via Asian sites. 

The historical dramas are the best, but the modern ones are good too. 





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Musicals seem to be something that was done better in the past:  and in these, dance often brought joy to those watching the film:
  ........

I dare you to watch this without laughing:
  .....

and then there is this classic commercial (Stan Freburg of
 course)

  .....

I ran across this on youtube: 

  ....

.and alas her family's home in Fairfax is now deteriorating......if you know any millionaires who want to preserve historical homes, maybe they can restore her house. I mean, if Ted Turner could buy local ranches to keep buffalo on, maybe he could invest a bit into getting her family home restored.
....link

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Reading Linear A

 There has been a lot of new information about the Trojan war and about the Mycenean and Minoan civilizations since I studied this in college.

These civilizations did have writings, but without a rosetta stone, there were problems in trying to figure out what they said. 

Linear A was the writing of the ancient Minoans on Crete, who were conquered by the Myceneans, and the Myceneans then started writing a similar script. The Minoan writings were called Linear A, the Mycenean script was called Linear B.

Eventually the Linear B script was deciphered by a non archeologist named Michael Ventris 



The clue was that Linear B was a form of Greek but Linear A has never been deciphered: Partly because no one is sure of what was the language.

But now, thanks to computer analysis, Linear A is being deciphered. LINK

“What we see with Linear A, Linear B, and the two different languages notated (Minoan and Greek) is that the graphic system (script) was continued without considerable change (but of course there are differences), but the languages differ. Upon the transmission process of Linear A to Linear B there was therefore ‘linguistic shift’. However, the graphic system was not deeply affected,” she says.
Asked by Greek Reporter if there are exact translations of any Linear A writing at present, Salgarella demurred, but explained why finding many corollary symbols leads to hope that it will indeed be completely understood one day. “I am afraid there is currently no exact translation of the sign-sequences (= words) attested on Linear A tablets (as well as other document types). This is primarily because we have not yet identified the linguistic family the Minoan language belongs to (unless it has to be taken as an ‘isolated’ language),” she replies. ”

Probably the decipherment will contain information on taxes, inventory, etc rather than stories, but even this would be helpful in filling in the blanks of the Minoan civilization and ancient trade.

 The story of the decipherment of Linear B  by Ventris is a classic story but the background is that many others tried to decipher it, including Alice Kober, whose analysis suggested it might be a form of Greek, which went against the prevailing ideas that denied this.

Kober was not just held back by sexism, but because back then those who discovered stuff kept it secret until they could publish it, and get the glory of having done so. So her access to Linear B script was limited.

Nowadays, open access is a tool that is helping to open the secrets of the past.


headsup from Instapundit

Monday, May 17, 2021

Colombia protests: what do those KPop videos have to do with it?

I have noted in my blog about the devestation of the middle class/lower middle class here in the Philippines due to the covid virus: Not just the deaths, but the economic problems due to quarantine and the loss of jobs both here and with our OFW.

What has kept the public quiet here so far is that Duterte is still popular, but that might change of course. 

But the same economic crisis is dangerously destablizing other countries that only in recent years have pulled their people out of poverty into the middle class, and that includes countries like Brazil and Colombia.

 South America has been badly hit by the Covid virus, not just in deaths but because of the economic crisis caused by the shut down and quarantines. 

Colombia was actually improving after a truce with FARC, economic improvement, and the decrease in narco terrorism, which moved to Venezuela and Mexico. 

But the Covid artificial induced poverty crisis is destabeling that country, and one result is that many of the Venezuelan refugees that fled there are now no longer welcome, so are wending their way to the USA, where Biden has a big sign up saying All are welcome. 

The BBC reports that the protest in Colombia started when taxes were raised, which was seen by the middle class, who had only recent years gotten out of poverty, saw this as the last straw pushing them back into poverty. 

Things are escalating due to police brutality (i.e. stopping the demonstrations/riots vigourously, and killing some people which they didn't need to do).

But now the demonstrators include the "indigenous" (who tend to be left wing because only the left bothers to protect them from greedy oil etc. that want to steal/exploit/utilize their undeveloped resources.)

Because of economic disparities the left is popular: alas, the rebels morphed years ago into helping the Narco terror types, and now things are complicated because the Narco terror types moved into Venezuela, and even steal/exploit peasants and indigenous groups in various ways.

So when it comes to riots, the narco types who have links with FARC and the left are of course there to make things unstable so they can take over.

Think of how the valid US anti police violence protests deteriorated as the Antifa got involved, and as the BLM leaders started openly pushing their larger agenda. 

And the BLM type tactics of blocking roads to Cali are not likely to make them popular, alas, with the mainly middle class who up to now have been participating in the protests.

JohnBachelor has this podcast discussing the problem:


GlobalVision, a site that publishes independent reports from bloggers/independent journalists has another report on the protests from a more leftist point of view.

This includes a report on how the protesters, both left wing activists and the middle class who started the protests, are getting around the problem of getting out information.

The article mentions how activists are countering the government propaganda in the social media by replying to them by posting KPop videos with hashtags that protest the violence.

This enables them to change the discussion in the social media.

Spanish article here.


I post this for two reasons: Because the protests are complicated, but also to point out how widespread is the Korean media, both K dramas and KPop.

I don't think this has been noticed by the MSM in the USA, even with NetFlix posting some of the more popular Kdramas for the USA to watch.

BBC article from 2019 about how K Pop is taking over the world.


Sunday, May 16, 2021

gee, they insist they need charity but they can afford missiles

 Things must be serious in the Middle East, because the gov't here is arranging to evacuate some of our OFW from Israel. But this article mentions only 300, and I believe there are 30 thousand Filipinos there, so although the gov't is making contingency plans if things get worse, they are not planning a full evacuation.

Joy reports that one of her friends heard from her daughter there: She is not planning to return home, but does note that the government warned people to go to their shelters when the siren hits.

A lot of the news stories imply Israel is the bad guy of course, because they retaliated after being hit by thousands of missiles.

So who is paying for the missiles? Is it an Iranian proxy war, so they were put there by Iran who has openly swore to destroy Israel for the last 30 years, or did the locals buy them with all that foreign aid money given to them by various western countries and charities?

I don't know, But here is Strategy Page's take on what's going on.


.....

If I post a lot of stuff from StrategyPage here, it is because they get things right about countries that I happen to know about, but that the press, especially in the USA, often distort the story, usually out of ignorance of cultural nuances rather than bias.

as for the Middle East: It's not just Israel. Here they discuss why Greece is sending stuff to Saudi to help protect them against missile attacks from Iran's proxies there (read Houthi rebels in Yemen, a group that makes the Taliban look liberal, but thanks to Iran's sophisticated propaganda network, are usually portrayed as the victims here.).

and like China, who is using their ships to block fishing (with a "wink wink" to all and sundry that they are now able to block passage of civilian ships in the West Philippine sea), the Iranians are busy building ships that could stop shipping there.

President Obama tried to make nice with Iran, but they tricked him. So Trumpie boy reestablished sanctions and pulled aid from their proxies in Gaza etc. But now Biden is trying to make nice with them again. Of course, instead of seeing this as a way to grasp at peace and help their own people (the Iranians have been badly hit by the WuhanFlu), they saw it as a message they can "do their thing" without the cop on the beat (i.e. Team America World Police) getting in their way.

Sigh. 

Don't ask me. 

We are still in partial shutdown, and Manila is in strict shutdown, but the good news is that the number of new cases has fallen. 

The bad news? The Indian varient is here.

Sigh.



Friday, May 14, 2021

Great Tits, Blue footed boobies, and yellow bellied sap suckers

 CoolGreenScience blog has an article about Yellow Bellied Sap suckers.

as kids, we used this phrase as a joke, but there actually are such birds: A relative of the lowly woodpecker.

which brings me to wonder: Where do some of these birds get their names?

In English, Yellow implies coward, and a more emphatic version of this is to call someone yellow bellied. But according to the blog post, these birds are quite aggressive, at least when it comes to mating. So one has to presume the double meaning of it's name doesn't fit here.

Yellow bellied sap sucker is obvious: Because they open holes into trees. Ditto for woodpecker, who pecks  on wood, never mind that this has an X rated double meaning in the present day world.

And then, as this scienceblog post notes, we also have tits.

Here, of course, I'm referring to the Paridae family, which has provided all manner of amusement, especially when you start to list some of the individual species with particularly intriguing names. Such as the Elegant Tit, the White-Browed Tit, the Great Tit, the Yellow Tit, the Siberian Tit, and (I'm not sure what to make of this) the Varied Tit. In fact, to add to the innuendo, there are even the doubly referenced Stripe-breasted Tit and Yellow-breasted Tit.


 

The word "tit" is an old word for small (sorry ladies) so it is obvious where the bird got it's name.

and then there are boobies.

 Boobies? 

Again Wikipedia to the rescue.

The English name "booby" was possibly based on the Spanish slang term bobo, meaning "stupid".

that word is still used in English to call someone stupid, so that makes sense.

And Boobies are not the only birds with a name that implies they lack intelligence:.

the mighty Albatross, known to most of us only because we were tortured in school  to memorize the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, was renamed "Gooney bird" by sailors who encountered them in Midway Island.

 

....




Thursday, May 13, 2021

Debunk

......


13. Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe and effective?
COVID-19 vaccines that are granted with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are considered safe and effective based on the available evidence to date.

14. Are there risks for complications when given the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, like all other vaccines, there are risks of complications BUT SEVERE OR LIFE-THREATENING REACTIONS ARE EXTREMELY RARE. The benefit of protection against severe COVID-19 is greater than the risk. Anyone who will get the vaccine will be properly evaluated and closely monitored by health professionals to further minimize any risk.

15. What can we do while waiting for the vaccine?
We urge the public to be more vigilant with the information found online. Let us make it a habit to fact check and verify with reliable sources (DOH Facebook page, DOH website, WHO website, PIA website) regarding new information. Continue observing the minimum public health standards to prevent further transmission of the virus.

----------------
a lot of the anti vax nonsense is taking things out of context.

The adverse side effects get publicized without putting them into the context of the huge number of vaccinations given:

Anaphylaxis after COVID-19 vaccination is rare and occurred in approximately 2 to 5 people per million vaccinated in the United States 

As of May 11, 2021, more than 9 million doses of the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine have been given in the United States. Through continuous safety monitoring, CDC and FDA identified 28 confirmed reports of people who got the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and later developed TTS.

Over 259 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through May 10, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 4,434 reports of death (0.0017%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. 

------------------
Yale medicine article describes the western vaccines: how they work and what they do.
This is from the BBC:




this does not include the Chinese or Russian vaccines.

There is good evidence that the Russian vaccine has good results (90 percent) but studies suggest the Chinese vaccine only gives 50 percent protection: so Brazil stopped using it.

But today an article claimed 90 percent protection in Indonesia from the Chinese vaccine. Alas, China lies so often one cannot believe that. Indeed, it is not clear that the study of this "Coronavax"is the same as the "Sinovax" given elsewhere, (why isn't this mentioned in the article? probably because it is not a news report but a press release, i.e. propaganda) and tell you the truth I'm too lazy to do a search to figure it out.

Local Philippine editorials by their patsies insist not only do they work, but that they have no side effects, and hey, they didn't use fetal cells so Catholics shouldn't get upset at using them.

No side effects? Not according to this report. But don't worry: The Chinese government forced the whistleblower to apologize. Nothing to see here, folks, just move along.
---------------
update: Things that make you go ""Hmm"":

 From ZeroHenge via Tea At Trianon:

there is a massive outbreak of Covid in the Seychelles despite a high rate of being vaccinated with the Chinese and the Indian vaccines. Now they have to analyze which of these vaccines didn't protect folks:


The Indian Ocean archipelago nation started vaccinations in January when it introduced the Chinese-developed Sinopharm vaccine. It administered Chinese vaccine shots to 57% of those who were fully inoculated and the rest received vaccines that were made in India. Since last week, the number of active coronavirus cases has more than doubled to 2,486 people. Of these, 37 percent of the population have received both the vaccine doses, as per the report.