Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A Quick Run Around the Web (2/11/2020)

The description provided states: "China's handling of the novel coronavirus has been 'extremely vile.' From an initial coverup to mass suppression, the Chinese Communist Party has used this outbreak to prove once again that human life is of little value to the world's largest authoritarian regime, especially in light of the passing of Dr. Li Wenliang, the whistleblowing doctor who first tried to expose the outbreak."

China has had nearly 1,000 cluster outbreaks of the coronavirus and found that 83 per cent occurred in families, with the rest arising in hospitals, schools and shopping malls, said Wu Zunyou, chief scientist of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, at a media briefing on Tuesday.
       The epidemic has caused huge disruptions in China with usually teeming cities becoming virtual ghost towns during the past two weeks as Communist Party rulers ordered virtual lockdowns, cancelled flights, closed factories and shut schools.
          Authorities had told businesses to tack up to 10 extra days onto the Chinese New Year holidays that had been due to finish at the end of January.
            Even on Monday, a large number of workplaces will remain closed and many white-collar workers will continued to work from home.
              On one of the usually busiest subway lines in Beijing, trains were largely empty. The few commuters sighted during peak-hour morning traffic were all wearing masks.
                Across China, schools in provinces and regions such as Guangdong, Anhui, Zhejiang, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, Hebei, Jiangxi, and Inner Mongolia, as well as Shanghai and Chongqing will be shut through the end of February.
                  Zhou Zheng (周正), an expert in respiratory medicine at the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University in Hunan Province, said one feature of 2019-nCoV infection is that patients can develop moderate symptoms in the first two days of infection but can become seriously ill on the third day or later.
                    Attributing this to the phenomenon of cytokine storm -- a high level of circulating inflammatory cytokines -- Zhou said the novel coronavirus can stimulate the body's immune system, which can further damage the cells.
                      "A normal immune system protects, but an over-active immune system can not only damage the lungs but also other organs, including the kidneys, liver and heart," he said.
                        A recent Lancet publication titled "Clinical Features of Patients Infected with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in Wuhan, China," also describes the correlation of the cytokine storm and the severity of illness in patients infected with 2019-nCoV.
                          Meanwhile, a hundred people have been quarantined in Hong Kong after being evacuated from an apartment building where two residents living on different floors were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, authorities said.
                            During a press conference Tuesday, officials from Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection said the two infected residents were separated by 10 floors and the decision to partially evacuate the public housing estate in the city's Tsing Yi area was made after the discovery of an unsealed pipe in the bathroom of the lower apartment, raising fears about how the newly identified virus may have spread between the two units.
                        So now there are concerns that the virus can spread via sewage
                                 On Saturday it was announced the virus can now spread via aerosol transmission - meaning it can drift through the air for an extended period of time and cause infection if breathed in. 
                                  "Aerosol transmission refers to the mixing of the virus with droplets in the air to form aerosols which causes infection after inhalation," Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau deputy head Zeng Qun is quoted as saying by China Daily.
                                    Chang, who authored the book "The Coming Collapse of China" claimed that local authorities have "just lost the ability to pick up corpses" due to a "breakdown in government."
                                      "So really what we are having right now is, they are completely overwhelmed," he added. "They are not able to keep accurate statistics. So what we are witnessing is essentially a breakdown in government and keeping accurate statistics is a very minor part of their priorities right now."
                                • Related: "The coronavirus has killed hundreds, but is China giving us the full picture?"--Glenn Reynolds at USA Today. He notes that because China has punished people telling the truth about the outbreak, people are going to be reluctant to report the facts to those in charge. "The Chinese government continues to censor news and social media. This not only keeps the rest of the world from knowing what’s going on, it also makes it harder for the government itself to keep track of what’s really happening, as opposed to what underlings are reporting to their superiors." Thus, even the government may not know the true extent of the problem.
                                         It is also clear to me as a physician – listening to the Chinese doctors – and viewing footage from the hospitals and clinics – that this is many orders of magnitude worse than what they are saying. Common sense will tell you that as well – are they really going to torpedo their entire industrial heartland for months – just because 300 people have died? — I think not – I think this is way worse than we can possibly imagine.
                                          My mother-in-law lives in a smaller city – far on the western fringe of China – If Wuhan were Atlanta – she would be in a place like Boise. She had a fever about 8 days ago. Please note – official statistics note that there are 9 people in her province confirmed to have the virus. This belies the fact that she (never known to me to be a liar or fabulist ) has been telling my wife for days that there are hundreds upon hundreds of people all over the sidewalks and streets outside the hospital – and that the hospital is completely filled with patients. And apparently the crematorium has been very busy. Of most grave concern to her – is Beijing nationalized all of their small province’s health care workers and sent them to Shanghai or Beijing – leaving their city of a million with only a handful of doctors. When she had her fever – a nurse looked at her for 10 minutes. They found out she had a runny nose – and because of the runny nose told her she did NOT have the virus. NO TEST WAS EVER DONE – WHY? they simply do not have enough kits – and are having to go by their gut instinct. She was sent back to her own home – and placed in quarantine there – never having been tested. She is unable to leave – and this is being violently enforced in her city. They bring her food 3 times a week. All this to say – any and all numbers coming from China are highly suspect – and basically worthless. And thankfully my mother-in-law is getting much better.
                                            Her younger brother and his young family live in Nanjing. I cannot tell you the grief expressed by my wife the other night – when he called her the last time – and said all international calls have been stopped effective at midnight that day. Nanjing is now under martial law – for the first time since the Japanese occupation before World War II. He told her about the tanks going down the streets and all the main streets being guarded by men with sub-machine guns. All exits out of the city are now being blocked with layers of concrete blocks. Each family has to designate one person who can go outside 2 times a week – to the nearest store for food and supplies. Anyone caught on the streets without appropriate permission – or not wearing a mask is immediately arrested – and placed in quarantine camps themselves. Anyone who thinks this is all being done just because of a “flu” or “a little virus” really needs to have their head examined.
                                             Her father is in Beijing – and has not been heard from in two weeks.
                                                 In 1986, the world’s worst nuclear disaster occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine. And, true to its need for total secrecy, the Soviet Union hid the danger from nearby residents. So while Soviet officials dithered, 50 million curies of radiation fell over the nearby town of Prypiat. What’s even worse is that the USSR had a history of covering up nuclear accidents long before Chernobyl.
                                                  Today, in the midst of China’s coronavirus outbreak, we see that its Communist Party is also going into lockdown mode, just like the old Soviets. So coronavirus has become China’s Chernobyl.
                                                    As of Friday, the official death toll in China stands at 636, with over 31,000 confirmed cases. But those are the official numbers. The true butcher’s bill is probably much higher.
                                                      Chinese doctors explain away the squishy numbers as the result of overworked health care in Hubei Province, where the bulk of the infections occur. Hospitals and laboratories can’t keep up with the demand for virus testing, they say.
                                                         But in a totalitarian nation like China, the truth is much different, of course. And the dirty truth is that the first-known coronavirus patient fell ill on December 1st. Instead of warning the public, Chinese officials spent the rest of December covering up the news — just like the Soviets did with Chernobyl.
                                                    Xi, burnished by a resurgent cult of personality, has amassed more power than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. He has leveraged Beijing’s economic clout to forward ambitions at home and abroad but also has struggled as no previous leader. “Since Xi came to power, problem after problem have occurred on his watch that he seems unable to effectively manage,” says Jude Blanchette, a China analyst at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. 
                                                            The pandemic has exposed the frailty of global supply chains and the fallacy of the management theory calling for intercontinental supply chains and just-in-time inventory management.
                                                              Quarantining more than 60 million people in over a dozen cities as a public health measure, the Chinese government has closed thousands of factories.
                                                                Problems extend far from Wuhan, the cradle of the coronavirus.
                                                                 Apple has been forced to reduce global iPhone shipments by 10 percent this quarter because of disruptions in its China-dependent supply chain.
                                                                    China’s 288 million migrant workers account for one third of China’s total labor force, and no one knows how many will—or can—return to work after the Lunar New year holiday, which was extended because of the outbreak.
                                                                     The Global Times, official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party acknowledges “a labor shortage issue seems to be haunting major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen,” major manufacturing hubs.
                                                                       Beijing’s transportation authority reports that of the 10 million people who left the capital ahead of the holidays, 8 million still have not returned.
                                                                         China’s labor shortage is felt around the world.
                                                                           China National Offshore Oil Corp. is refusing to take delivery of liquefied natural gas cargoes, blaming a shortage of workers due to the virus. PetroChina Co., the country’s largest oil and gas firm, says it also can’t get enough workers to offload cargoes at its terminals.
                                                                             The story is the same for shipments of soybeans from the U.S. and Brazil, palm oil from Indonesia, copper from Chile. China’s biggest oil refiner is expected to ask Saudi Arabia to reduce supplies of crude oil.
                                                                          Read the whole thing.

                                                                            This is a composite design with ceramic backed by polyethylene. Although rated at Level III, it was able to stop an M-2 .30-06 armor piercing round.

                                                                                    The first pair of officers who were targeted by this gunman was sitting in a marked police van with the emergency lights activated. As the suspect approached the van in the dark, the driver noticed that he had a handgun in his hand, pointed at the ground. As the officer began to drive the vehicle away, the suspect raised the firearm and fired, striking the officer in the chin and neck. The officer was able to drive away from the immediate danger, and switch places with the passenger officer, who drove his injured partner to the hospital.
                                                                                     We’ve talked about this before, in connection with a previous attack on NYPD officers, but it’s vitally important for officers to remember that while they may feel a level of comfort and security in their vehicle, it’s not a safe haven, and they have to remain alert to the danger of being ambushed while they are in the vehicle. The police car can become a “Purple Heart Box” that will trap you inside if you’re not careful, so it’s essential to divide your attention between whatever you are doing in the car (typing on a data terminal, writing a citation, talking on the radio, etc.) and watching the people who are approaching your vehicle.
                                                                                       It appears that the driver in this incident maintained this kind of awareness, and it provided him just enough advance warning of the attack to “get off the X.” The shooter still injured the officer with grazing wounds to the neck and chin, but those bullets would probably have struck more lethal areas if the officer hadn’t complicated the attack by driving away.
                                                                                         It can be difficult to monitor all the avenues of approach and potential threats when the vehicle is parked in a busy area, with lots of foot and vehicle traffic. As such, officers are encouraged to avoid lingering in a busy area if their duties don’t require them to remain in that position. After a stop, call, or investigation has been completed, move the patrol car to a more defensible location to finish the paperwork (such as in the middle of a large parking lot, where an attacker would have to cross a lot of open terrain to get to you), or team up with another officer on the scene to provide overwatch for each other. Better yet, finish your paperwork inside the police station.
                                                                                           Some vehicle ambushes are best resolved as this one was, with the officers driving away. Others are best handled by using the vehicle as a weapon to attack the attacker, and others still are best handled by debussing the car and fighting or fleeing on foot.
                                                                                            Residents of Benue State are having a horrible experience with a strange disease which is ravaging some communities in the state.
                                                                                              The worse hit victims live in areas in Oye-Obi local government area of the state where 15 deaths have been recorded and 104 others infected since the mystery disease broke out on January 29, 2020.
                                                                                               LEADERSHIP Friday learnt that the survival chances of those infected are very slim because they always die within 48 hours and the symptoms manifest in the form of swollen stomach, legs, internal heat, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
                                                                                                 The ailment, which cure and treatment are yet to be discovered by Nigeria’s health authorities, broke out as the country battles the Lassa fever scourge and coronavirus is sending shockwaves across the globe.
                                                                                            Over the last several decades, have we ever seen a year start as strangely as 2020 has?  Global weather patterns have gone completely nuts, large earthquakes are popping off like firecrackers, it looks like the plague of locusts in Africa could soon develop into the worst in modern history, and a massive plague of bats is severely terrorizing parts of Australia.  On top of all that, African Swine Fever is wiping out millions upon millions of pigs around the globe, the H1N1 Swine Flu is killing people in Taiwan, there have been H5N1 Bird Flu outbreaks in China and in India, and the H5N8 Bird Flu has made an appearance at a poultry facility in Saudi Arabia.  Of course the coronavirus outbreak which is causing people to literally drop dead in the streets in China is making more headlines than anything that I have mentioned so far, and it could potentially turn into a horrifying global pandemic that kills millions of people.
                                                                                                     This summer's bushfires were not just devastating events in themselves. More broadly, they highlighted the immense vulnerability of the systems which make our contemporary lives possible.
                                                                                                     The fires cut road access, which meant towns ran out of fuel and fell low on food. Power to towns was cut and mobile phone services stopped working. So too did the ATMs and EFTPOS services the economy needs to keep running.
                                                                                                       In a modern, wealthy nation such as Australia, how could this happen?
                                                                                                         In answering this question, it's helpful to adopt "systems thinking." This approach views problems as part of an overall system, where each part relates to each other.
                                                                                                           In other words, we need to look at the big picture.
                                                                                                      “Get some training” is a meme in the industry. Unfortunately, both the size and the availability of the training base are very small. This is true even if every NRA and State certified CCW instructor is included in the number. There’s also the issue in my mind of those who make statements like this but got their training from the government while in the pay of the government. That generates an ethical issue you can ponder some time.
                                                                                                      Read the rest of the article if you want to get into the numbers.
                                                                                                      • "Thermal Slow Cooker Crock Pot Thermos | How & Why We Use It"--The Modern Survival Blog. Years ago I had discussed "hay box" cooking and other forms of insulated cooking. The general idea is that it saves fuel because you use a heat source to bring the food up to cooking temperature (e.g., boiling), then transfer the pot or contents to some sort of insulated container that prevents the heat from escaping, so that the food continues to cook at or near its original temperature over a period of time. In this article, the author reviews a product from Thermos that is actually designed for this. It has a heating/cooking pot that is specifically designed to nest inside a thermally insulated shell.

                                                                                                            Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, Tehran's information and communications technology minister, last week tweeted a picture of the silver outfit with the words: 'astronaut costume #brightfuture'. 
                                                                                                              But social media users instantly accused him of flaunting a child's costume which can be bought on Amazon for £20, and simply tearing off the NASA badges.
                                                                                                               Closer inspection of the costume does appear to show the faint outline where the logos have been removed.
                                                                                                                  China's Communist Party has infiltrated various levels of America's infrastructure and is working to destroy the values of the United States, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a speech Saturday, while also warning state governors to be wary of China's infiltration.
                                                                                                                   “We can’t ignore China’s actions and strategic intentions," he said while addressing the National Governors Association winter meeting. "The Chinese government has been methodical in the way it's analyzed our system... it's assessed our vulnerabilities and it's decided to exploit our freedoms, to gain an advantage over us at the federal level, the state level and the local level."
                                                                                                                     “Competition with China is happening. It’s happening in your state," Pompeo added. "In fact, I'd be surprised if most of you in the audience had not been lobbied by the Chinese Communist Party directly."
                                                                                                                • A couple from Wilder, Wealthy and Wise on setting and achieving goals:
                                                                                                                      The German Economic Miracle was the Allied debt reforms of 1947/48. They essentially wiped out all debts except for what employers owed their employees – you know, the workers’ wages and minimum working balances at the banks. It was easy for the Allies to cancel the debts owed to German creditors. because the creditors were mainly Nazis. The whole idea was to wipe them out. They didn’t the want to leave the former Nazis with financial power to take over the economy again. They wanted a Clean Slate.

                                                                                                                      Canceling the debts created the German Economic Miracle. Because the economy was able to operate without personal debt, and without much public debt or corporate debt. It was able to take off. Today, essentially you’re dealing with a criminalized banking class that I think we should treat in the same way that the Allies treated the Nazis. If you don’t cancel the debts owed to them, the economy is going to shrink and shrink, and polarize. We’re going to have essentially a neo-feudalism controlled by the creditor class, like you had in Rome in the Dark Ages. Do you really want a new Dark Age?
                                                                                                                      Weber hits the nail on the head here by recognising that a "personal" faith "anchored in personality" is a different thing than an apparent faith of custom, habit and convenience. What modernity exposed is that the "personal faith" was strongly lacking and that a lot of religious practice was a habit contingent upon circumstances. Modernity changed the circumstances and exposed the shallowness in religious belief.  What Weber is hinting at--in a roundabout way-- is the notion that a strong faith is not opposed to modernity its just that weak faith is corroded by it.  And pre-Modern Europe had a lot of weak faith. What Weber is getting at is that  Modernity is not a solvent of religion, it is a solvent of weak and superficial religion, it separates the wheat from the chaff.


                                                                                                                      1. I love that the Iranians have an astronaut program. There's no way that could go wrong.

                                                                                                                        1. Especially if they are using costumes for space suits! Will it work? Inshallah.