|Alex Thomson, black top left on way to Cape Town. He’s arrived|
Then Sam Davies (red) and Sebastien on route to retire
Tracker is here
|Alex Thomson, black top left on way to Cape Town. He’s arrived|
Then Sam Davies (red) and Sebastien on route to retire
Tracker is here
|Jimmy Lai, boss of Apple Daily|
at the Lai Chi Kok Detention Centre
It’s never good to arrest and deny bail to members of the media. The last to do so before Hong Kong was Ukraine. And done here under the new National Security Law foisted on us because of the wanton destruction, the crazy calls for independence by the “freedom fighters” last year. Before their antics we had full unfettered freedom of the press and Jimmy Lai for all his jerk-dom, would never have been marching to jail.
Another “not good thing” for Hong Kong. Shame on the government, shame on Beijing.
By the way, I used to visit a mate in the same detention centre once a week for several months. Visiting is very strictly controlled. You can only speak to the detainee through a bulletproof glass screen using a phone hand set. Kind of maximum security. This guy told me “everyone in here is innocent. I’m the only guilty one”.
It’s 16C, crisp and clear. All good, ‘crept we got lockdowns again, cutting back in eateries and pubs. The latest outbreaks were mainly in these dancing clubs which are basically places elderly ladies pay for young male company and other services. Still doesn’t approach the level of pneumonia deaths which are nearly 10,000 a year, against the current 109 fo Covid.
Here in DB all fine and calm…
I just heard Michael Gove, a UK Cabinet Minister, talking to a talk-show host and saying that they “had no alternative” to what they’re doing in the UK, the lockdown and all: now morphed into “Tiers", which are lockdown in drag....
The host said “of course you have choices”. And he said, well what? And the host said, well, Sweden is doing OK and hasn’t had lockdowns like us. To which Gove said: “no, Sweden has increasing deaths”.
The host didn’t push back, I guess because they didn’t have the stats. The stats are that Sweden’s death rates are sharply declining after a wave -- a similar wave, we note, to those in places like the UK that have had stringent lockdowns -- and are now averaging 6 deaths per day. That’s for a 10 million population, so multiply by six to get the UK and you’ve got 36, compared with the 460 per day in the UK, where they are bait to pass even more draconian measures.
Why I say “WTF?” is that this is the TOP politicians in charge of MAJOR decisions of life and livelyhood in the UK and he’s so misinformed. There ARE other choices, choices other than the destruction of young lives and livelihoods.
ADDED: Debenhams in the UK is closing 124 stores in the UK, throwing 12,000 out of work. Born 1778, died 2020. How many more? The High Street is dead. And people like Gove — who I’ve admired — are there’s “no choice”. There is. Boris is just too gutless to do it. And so more will be lit of work. More dreams and bodies dead.
|Yes we Cam! racing again (white boat middle top)|
Wow, what a story. Jean Le Cam rescues fellow competitor Escoffier whose boat PRB was sinking. In 2009 it was the boat PRB who rescued Le Cam from his overturned boat, also off the Cape of Good Hope. Wonderful news! ADDED: Escoffier and Le Cam describe the rescue, aboard Yes we Cam!
As always the Vendée is exciting and dramatic. Saving a life at sea, in the huge seas of the Southern Ocean, just a day after Alex Thomson, the favourite, had to retire with a broken rudder: Shattered Dreams. And a video message from Alex.
Le Cam is already a monster hero. A mythical figure. Oldest in the fleet, at 61, racing an older non-foiling boat, yet lying third at the time of this rescue. What this dramatic rescue will do to his glistening reputation! From the Vendée site:
At 0118hrs UTC the PRB Team was informed that their Vendée Globe race skipper Kevin Escoffier (PRB) has been rescued by fellow Vendée Globe competitor Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!).
Escoffier had to abandon his IMOCA 60 PRB following damage yesterday afternoon around 1346hrs UTC and took to his liferaft some 840 nautical miles SW of Cape Town.
The rescue mission was coordinated from Les Sables d’Olonne by Vendée Globe Race Direction in collaboration with CROSS Griz Nez and MRCC South Africa. The President of PRB, Jean-Jacques Laurent was at the Race HQ with race director Jacques Caraës and the race direction team assisting through the entire process.
|Flying machine. Brought to ground by fishing kit|
Three weeks into the race and just after having completed a mammoth five day repair job, being back in the race — only four days ago exulting “the Boss is back!” — his boat, Hugo Boss, hits some discarded fishing equipment and loses his starboard rudder...
Vendée Globe Tracker : Alex’s sad news aside, the race is fascinating. 31 boats remain in the race and the leader is about to pass the Cape of Good Hope — four days behind the record Alex set in 2016. Surely he’ll be back in 2024. He’s a fantastically popular sailor, even in arch rivals France.
Article from Vendée website:
Charlie Dalin, the Vendée Globe race leader, should pass the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope on Monday, the first of the mythical 24,296 nautical miles solo round the world’s three Great Capes. That his elapsed time since the race started in Les Sables d’Olonne will be around 22 days might be of some tiny consolation to British skipper Alex Thomson who is heading to Cape Town.
His Vendée Globe may be over because of a broken rudder sustained on Friday evening but the blistering pace of 17 days 22hrs 58 seconds that Thomson leading the 2016-17 race remains intact, and is likely to remain so for at least another four years.
The senior diplomat’s [Frances Adamson] candid remarks come as relations between Canberra and Beijing remain at their lowest ebb in decades amid heated disputes spanning trade, alleged espionage, Huawei Technologies Co., Hong Kong, and the South China Sea. [Link…]
Frances is head (Secretary) of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where I worked for eleven years all up, between 1976 and 1995, serving in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. And for sure Australia-China relations are the worst in all that time. Most of the time they have been more than cordial.
To resolve this very serious breakdown will need each side to step back from one of their demands and this discussion ought to be going in behind closed doors. In my reading of it, Beijing needs to make the first step as it was the one which staged a hissy fit in response to criticisms from Canberra that were well within the normal diplomatic ambit, within, that is to say, the norms of international relations. Not for Beijing, though. Oh no. Beijing cancelled Australian exports, and did in breach of WTO rules and conventions — their bans on our exports are “informal guidance”, says Beijing. Right. (China was brought into the WTO by Bill Clinton with assurances it would engage China more fully in the international community. It did not — membership of WTO led to China’s domination of world trade and quasi-theft [technology transfer demands] of intellectual property).
Which is why we need to be very wary of Beijing wanting to set the agenda. Can we trust they can overcome their mercantilist impulses? No we cannot. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”.
[The “Wolf Diplomat” term is a reference to China’s Wolf Warrior Diplomats]
The common law tradition is being slowly rolled back as the legal system will be converging with that of the mainland in the coming years. Foreign governments and legal specialists, as well as local opposition, may huff and puff, but the reforms are inevitable and irresistible. [Link…]
|The Moon Goddess Chang ‘e. Ming dynasty|
The rocket is called the “Chang’e” (嫦娥) Pronounced like “chunk” without the “k” and then “err” as in mistake. Chaarng Err.... Close enough. (Not “Changi” as in the Singapore airport).
It’s named after the Chinese goddess of the moon. That’s her above. Wiki tells us:
Chang ‘e... is the Chinese goddess of the Moon. She is the subject of several legends in Chinese mythology, most of which incorporate several of the following elements: Houyi the archer, a benevolent or malevolent emperor, an elixir of life, and the Moon. She is married to the archer Houyi. In modern times, Chang'e has been the namesake of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program.
Now here’s the thing. No-one confuses these Chinese legends and myths with the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program. Yet that is what Australia’s CSIRO is doing, when it stretches the meaning of “astronomy" to include Aboriginal myths and fables about the night sky. That’s patronising and dishonest. The new name of the Parkes telescope, which was the first in the world to beam news of the moon landing to earth, is now Murriyang.
In the Wiradjuri Dreaming, Biyaami (Baiame) is a prominent creator spirit and is represented in the sky by the stars which also portray the Orion constellation. Murriyang represents the 'Skyworld' where Biyaami lives. [Link...]
I don’t mind at all -- in fact I fully support -- moves in Oz to name things after indigenous antecedents. Many names in Oz already have indigenous names, and many have changed, with broad public support -- like Ayers rock now commonly known as Uluru. Great. And I love what the CSIRO is doing with the Reconciliation Action Plan, to work with and respect the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. And Murriyang is a fine, euphonious name, a pleasing name. And I do like to learn what it means as an aboriginal story, a “Dreamtime” story.
But to pretend that it’s equally valid to describe, say, Cygnus X-1, a high-mass X-ray binary system rotating around a black hole, as an Aboriginal bark canoe -- because this is Aboriginal “Astronomy”, as opposed to an Aboriginal fables? To suggest that these fables gave us (unspecified) knowledge “long before us”? There’s now a whole website on Indigenous Astronomy. All of which is of the same ilk: fables and stories, starting with the “Emu in the Sky”, presented to us as “science” and now taught at schools as “astronomy”.
This is not only wrong, it is deeply and dishonestly condescending. It does nothing to develop true aboriginal astronomy, wherever that may be practiced. These are legends and myths, like the Chinese Moon Goddess, fun to learn about sure, but not astronomy. Astrology, if we wish. Just not the science of Astronomy.
LATER: I guess I seem somewhat cranky here. After all, what’s the problem with Reconciliation? The answer is “nothing”. Indeed, as I said, I support widespread renamings to recognise aboriginal heritage. It’s when it makes equivalence between fables and science — claims that they are the same — that I get tetchy. It’s part of the woke attack, via Critical Theory, of the whole edifice of science, especially of STEM. The notion that 2 plus 2 can equal 5, if I want it to. If I need it to. This is a trend in the Academy in the US and now more broadly about. So, that’s why my crankiness about this....
* Official: it’s the Black Tea Tree, a member of Melaleuca family
It’s made of recycled and recyclable plastic. On Amazon it’s amongst the cheapest also the highest rated. We put the tray underneath is to catch the liquid compost “tea” and keep our kitchen patio pristine.
My letter Published 20 November
I refer to your editorial “” (November 17).
Coming so soon after , the headline conjures up unfortunate images of soldiers hauling themselves out of the trenches only to be mowed down by machine guns.
Even Trump supporters were critical of this move. Bad move. Silly move. Dopey move. Idiotic move.
Kevin Williamson spells it out
|Click above to go to video|
Came across the EUT via David Thompson’s blog, reporting on the renaming of Australia’s iconic Parkes Telescope — made famous by transmitting the first pix from the moon in 1969. I remember!
The particulars of that “astronomical knowledge,” also referred to as “ancient wisdom,” and its bearing on modern radio astronomy, are, alas, not shared in the press release. We are, however, told that the “telescope naming project,” which involved CSIRO staff, Wiradjuri Elders, the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and various other bodies, required “over two years” of work. Readers intrigued by the promise of astronomy being enhanced with, and perhaps superseded by, ancient aboriginal wisdom can partake of this cosmic bong trip.
More pix here
|Conclusion: young male Verditer Flycatcher. Eumyias thalassina|
Came in through our open dining room door this morning. Maybe a Blue Rock-Thrush, though perhaps a little too small for that.
LATER (22 November): from Robert Ferguson of Wild Creatures Hong Kong:
Hiya, what a lovely bird.
ADDED: Mystery Bird
My comment: I’d be inclined to go from Robert’s modest “pretty sure” to my presumptuous “certain”, based on Robert’s pix and Wiki description — the copper-sulphate blue colour, dark patches and grey vents, which you can see clearly in my pic above. Also: according to the Mystery Bird link above, the only bird one might confuse the Verditer Flycatcher with is the Black-naped Blue Flycatcher, and
she’s he’s clearly not that.
At the link to Robert’s photos he says they appear in the early months of the year, so this one is “quite early”. Given that this flycatcher moves in winter, does moving early suggest the the weather is warmer or cooler than usual? I’d have thought the logic suggests cooler, as that’s a signal to move, but it sure hasn’t felt cooler than usual. I’m sitting in the patio in 27C, sunny and about to go to the pool for its last day before closing for our “winter”.
Reminder: for some of you readers of this blog, I sent you a copy of Robert’s booklet Wild Creatures Hong Kong.
LATER STILL: The turquoise colour is not because of pigment but
…result from small changes in feather structure that alters their light reflective properties. These fundamental modifications cause violet and blue light to be selectively reflected from the feather surface…. Schemochromes
|Look at these flying machines. Click above to go to the video.|
Or see Alex Thomson interview here
Around-the-world, Single-handed, Unassisted, Non-stop. The “Everest of Yachting”.
Great to watch the Tracker. They’re just ten days into it, with about 70 days to go, for the fastest.
Alex Thompson is in the lead. His fifth Vendee... and they’re only every four years. What magnificent men and women in their flying machines. 33 of them, a record entry.
|See it live here|
LETTER TO SCMP:
I refer to your editorial “We must all soldier on together if coronavirus battle is to be won”, 17 November.