Thursday 30 April 2020

Flowering Focaccia

Covid-19 virus update, 30 April

My spreadsheet from figures at Worldometer 
HK Total = 1038. New = zero.  And Happy Buddha’s Birthday!

Last day of the month and last day I’ll post one of these tables. Hong Kong has been zero cases for nearly a week. And I read somewhere that this virus seems to have about 70 day cycle no matter the extent of lockdown. China was first. Then Hong Kong. Next the world…

China-Australia argue over coronavirus investigation. Sweden also calls for probe.
Canada hides facts in same way they criticise China for doing at the start of the outbreak
"BC health officials have tried to keep secret the Covid-19 prevalence in municipalities... [More]
Coronavirus lurks in lungs after recovery.
CNA: California to close all beaches and parks. Which is most certainly not “following the science”. The science tells us that there are virtually no vectors for the virus in outside activities. Especially like going to the beach or park. Where you are safer than being indoors. So what’s with Gov Gavin Newsome?
WHO head Tedros is doing the rounds saying the WHO gave plenty of notice to take the coronavirus seriously. And that may be true. What is also true is that at the time (late January) when US and others began restricting travel, the WHO was urging against doing that. Either they were right then and everyone is wrong now. Or — more likely — they were wrong then. In which case it’s rather rich for Tedros to proclaim the WHO is nothing but right. It’s not.  The other case is in face masks, where they said earlier they’re not needed and now recommend them. Not to mention the human-to-human misinformation debacle…

OT: Alex Lo: says ‘HK opposition will rue the day they asked Washington for help.’ I’d say more like we average Hongkongers will rue the day. Because the opposition don’t care if Hong Kong fails. They say “ you burn with us”. They wish for the destruction of HK so they can say “there, you see how bad the communist party is”. Not reading their minds. That’s what they say!

Wednesday 29 April 2020

Table Dog Orchid

Cymbidium orchid, Bougainvillea
iPhone 12 Plus, edited to ‘Vivid'

'Sweden says its coronavirus approach has worked. The numbers suggest a different story’ | CNN

UPDATE (29 April): on the very day I posted this WHO came out and praised the Swedish model. Lockdown fanatics are always quoting the WHO. Now?
Some people think that this piece in CNN, the headline above, debunks the theory that the “Swedish model” of very limited lockdown, works.  Because the article claims that the deaths per million in Sweden are worse than in neighbouring Scandinavian countries, which are in Lockdown.  QED. So they think.
But, no. CNN does not debunk that. The think they do, but they don’t. The article most certainly does not prove that Sweden’s more relaxed policies are not working.
So, I’ll redo the above headline:
“CNN claims Sweden’s coronavirus model has not worked. The numbers suggest a different story”.
1.  Only looks at Covid-related deaths.  Not the costs of lockdown.
2. These costs include mental health problems, addiction, domestic abuse, and child abuse, all of which are increasing in lockdown countries.
3. There are more non-Covid deaths as result of lockdowns.  Example: people not coming in for cancer treatments.  In the UK alone, this is expected to lead to 3,000 extra deaths.
4.  Hospitals are unused for non-Covid diseases. From a Consultant Anaesthetist who is now Medical Director:


Covid-19 virus update, 29 April

My spreadsheet from figures at Worldometer 
HK Total = 1038. New = zero

Hong Kong public facilities reopen on Monday
China should welcome international inquiry
Video: From NYC ICU. Does Covid-19 really cause ARDS?

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Pandemic Costs: the costs of Lockdowns vs Mortality

From Here
This is counter to the refusal in some parts of media and politics to even consider the costs of lockdown. The “one death is too many” crowd. This analysis covers the economic costs, which are horrific enough. There are other costs -- increased suicides, partner and child abuse, mental health issues, people not being treated for non-Covid diseases, whole families losing livelihoods, the list goes on. 
From John Hinderaker, ex-lawyer, now head of the Center for the American Experiment:

H/t Powerline: Casey Mulligan is an economist at the University of Chicago. Per his web site, he has served as Chief Economist of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and as a visiting professor teaching public economics at Harvard and Clemson. He is affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research, the George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State, and the Population Research Center. Mulligan has set up a web page where he estimates, on a daily basis, the cumulative costs of the COVID-19 epidemic. The analysis is based on his own paper dated April 16.
By Mulligan’s calculation, cumulative costs approach $1 trillion. This total doesn’t necessarily include stock market losses, which mostly reflect anticipated future damages that are not part of the calculation.
On its face, Mulligan’s analysis implies that the cure (shutdowns) has been far worse than the disease (mortality), and the margin is growing. Of course, doing this calculation requires an economist to put a value on the lives that have been lost to the disease. Mulligan uses a Value of a Statistical Life of $4.3 million. In his site’s FAQ, Mulligan explains:
Q7. What VSL do you use?
A7. $4.3 million per death from COVID-19. This is what other economists are using and reflects only an age adjustment; a lower VSL will result when I am able to quantify the other differences between COVID-19 deaths and deaths from other causes. The point of VSL is to make comparisons the same way that individuals do in their personal lives. ...
This analysis will be a fertile source of debate, but any way one looks at it, the costs of the shutdowns are horrifying.
UPDATE: It is worth noting that Professor Mulligan’s analysis is limited to the U.S., so it does not include the hundreds of thousands of children who will die, worldwide, if we maintain the shutdowns.

I’m a big Boris fanboy, BUT… His reappearance at Number 10 was…

… a real stinker. And I said so to J, W aching along, last night. Especially on the issue of a second wave. Boris said something like it would disastrous for the economy. We would waste all the good effort to date if we opened too early and had a second wave which would overwhelm the NHS and be catastrophic for the economy.
And I though, huh?
Haven’t we learnt anything from the first wave? About tracking and testing and isolating and all that? And haven’t we now got massive spare capacity within the NHS? (There are empty wards and operating theatres because people not doing elective surgery. And the new Nightingale hospitals made especially for Covid-19, are at 5% capacity).
And in any case why should it be any more difficult for the economy if there were a second wave as opposed to the ruinous effects of the current shutdown in this first wave?
Toby Young writing today, shares my puzzlement:
Okay, let’s suppose, contrary to the evidence, that reopening schools and switching off some of the other extreme measures did, in fact, overwhelm the NHS. So we’d switch them back on again. What would be so economically disastrous about that? As far as I can tell, this argument crept in to the Number 10 press briefings last week without any accompanying explanation of how the Government or its economic advisors reached this conclusion. [The rest is here. Free to good homes]

Covid-19 virus update, 28 April

My spreadsheet from figures at Worldometer 
HK Total = 1038. New = zero
I guess I have to say that we’ve reached “another grim milestone” with worldwide cases over three million.  But I dunno.  The more I live through this the ore I think the world has lost its mind. The deaths number is nowhere near the models predictions. And if you counter “well, duh, that’s because of the lockdowns” I say, no,  op are those with strict lockdowns and those without. There’s no statistical difference. In the meantime there’s virtually no political or media coverage of the costs of lockdown. They are real, substantial, multiples of the costs in lives lost. 
I’m a Lockdown Sceptic!
Two ER doctors with 40+ years experience get censored by YouTube for questioning the effective as of the Lockdowns. Shame on YouTube!

China bracing for the global  backlash.
Chinese Ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye is a bully. Threatening China will stop buying Australian commodities, if we continue to ask for an independent investigation into the source and handling of the outbreak.
And I’d say ‘so what?’  China doesn’t buy commodities from us to do us any favours. It does so because we are the most efficient supplier. Do your worst ambassador Cheng. Nasty. 

Monday 27 April 2020

ER Doctors speak out with some real data

ADDED (28 April): Wow! YouTube have cancelled it! I don’t know why. When I first watched it the vid had over 2 million views. Next time I watched it (it’s somewhat laden with figures) it had 4 million views. So I guess you could say, viral. There were about 80k upvotes and 5k downvotes. I posted a comment: “why would people downvote this? I don’t get it” and got into some polite discussion with several about the rate of infections. The down-voters saying that the figures Dr Erickson, testing for infections, used were not random and so could not be extrapolated, as he had done to get the low morbidity figures. And that’s true.
But I thought even if he was out tenfold we would have a much lower morbidity rate than the crude CFR figure if 6.95%. In any case surely having two experienced ER surgeons giving us their views of this new disease from the frontline is worth having. As the doctors said, they are just following the science.
But no. YouTube have banned them. I think because they committed a cardinal sin. Remember when we thought it was “like the flu”. Then we were told “it’s not like the flu at all”. But now, these doctors are saying — on the basis of their experience and their data — “ it’s just like the flu”. How very dare they?    likely because they violated new YouTube rules which specifically prohibit posts that go against WHO guidelines. Which these doctors did. Which is also ironic. Because if you’d said in early a January: a.there’s human to human infections, b. we should limit travel and c.we should all wear masks, you would have been banned by YouTube because at the time these were against WHO recommendations. [AMENDED: 30 April 2020]
ADDED: An outline of their briefing and the vid is still available here. And a mea corrigendum: They are doctors, but no longer working at ER. They own a testing company. Does this make their briefing any less credible? I don’t know, but not necessarily. They presumably don’t have any particular agenda aside from doing more testing. Which we all want anyway.
Back to my original post yesterday:
Some things confirmed here:
1. Hospitals are EMPTY. That was noted in a BBC report the other night for the UK, and now here by these two experienced ER doctors in California. Empty ER wards, doctors and nurses on furlough. Because people are scared to come in to hospitals, and delaying elective surgery. This is putting stress on hospitals’ income.
Given that “Save the NHS” and “flatten the curve” to save the health systems, were the main reasons for lockdowns, now that they’re EMPTY, isn’t it time to relax?
2.  America has done heaps of testing, and the figures are around 10-20% of the whole population are infected. That makes the Case Fatality Rates MUCH lower than predicted by models. 0.03% say these doctors. As Dr Erickson repeats: “Many cases, few deaths”.
3. These doctors are seeing spikes in domestic violence, alcoholism, suicide, as a direct result of lockdowns. This is a COST, we can’t ignore. They don’t give figures but there are plenty of other reports.
4. Doctors are being “pressured” to write “Covid-19” in the cause of death, even if the patient had a co-morbidity, which was the cause of death. No evidence presented, though I have read of similar elsewhere.
5.  Quarantine: should be of sick people, not healthy. That’s a good point. But doesn’t mention cordon sanitaire concept.
6. 95% of people with the virus are fine. Of the 5%, 95% of them are over 80 with other diseases. If you’re under 80 with no other disease, your chances of dieing if you catch it are 0.25%.
7.  You’re way safer outdoors than indoors. All infections these doctors had treated were contracted indoors.
8. They say ER doctors around the country agree with their assessment. Though they have and I’ve seen no evidence of this. 

Which is: it’s time to ease the lockdowns. As I’ve been saying for a while now. And also, I think I’ve come full circle on this Covid-19 business. First I thought it was panic in the making. Then I thought, OK there’s a real difference from the Flu, and stopped saying “it’s just like the flu”. But these doctors, with over 40 years experience in ER, say “it’s just like the flu”. So, I’m back to thinking we’re panicking overmuch.
ADDED: Dr Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine at Stanford, says we don’t know what the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) is -- because we don’t know the denominator, the bottom line figure of the number of infections in our society -- but his guess is 0.01%, which is even lower than the 0.03% these doctors guess. HERE.
Also: “It’s not economy vs lives. It’s lives vs lives”. Because the lockdowns cost lives too.
ADDED: From the intro where I first saw this vid:

Falling bougainvillea

iPhone 12 Wide Angle mode
I’ve never quite figured out the cycle of bougainvillea here in humid Hong Kong. In the med they flower constantly. They like it dry. Here they are sometimes out and sometimes bare and now they’re dropping flowers as summer approaches and after they’ve had an unusually abundant flowering. They say you’ve got to treat ‘em rough. They like a bit of rough. Perhaps this year it was a dry but warm winter that made them flower so prolificallly.
Dropping petals. Petals on the ground go into our new rotating compost bin:
Two chambers: one for adding new, while the other is maturing.
Made of recycled and recyclable plastic. So far so great.
Replaces our 20 year old Canadian upright bin 

Covid-19 virus update, 27 April

My spreadsheet from figures at Worldometer 
HK Total = 1038. New = zero. For third time in a week.

At Moofish last night fully booked. Met some sailing mates whose boat is stuck in Portugal coz virus closes all ports.

Random fun photo (click to enlarge):

The international backlash against China. Are its diplomats doing more harm than good?
Finally… lockdowns ease
Gates Foundation funding best seven ideas for vaccine.

Friend living in China says the word on the street* is that the virus was accidental escape from the P2 level lab (ie, not the more secure P4 Wuhan Institute of Virology). The Huanan wet market story was part of the cover up. Close down market, clear out the wild animal stalls and declare job done.
Friend said an international team of experts had visited both facilities in October and issued a damning report on lack of safeguards, specifically warning of possible virus escape. Friend has visited “thousands” of facilities in China in decades of work there and says it’s often shocking how poorly run and maintained many of them are.
* [Online activity in China is vibrant and open, despite the army of paid government censors, the 五毛 Wu Mao brigade. See “Digital Disobedience” at China Digital Times. Friend also relies on talks with locals and foreigners. All anecdotal; then again, the counter is also anecdotal…]
Friend says only way China can restore any trust is to come clean and let in outside experts to investigate.
My own cautious view was that an accidental escape is a “maybe”. It’s always difficult to prove a negative, but the only thing we have against the accidental escape theory is the Chinese government denials. Virologists say it’s possible.
Chinese government denials not helped by the following story:
New York Times reports EU censored its own report on Chinese Covid disinformation after pressure from Beijing. Shame on you, EU.

Lockdown costs qualified by Chicago U professor. Astronomically higher costs than value of deaths.. To do this he has to put a dollar value on a human life, which he explains. Costs in Tilliins, not counting share market losses.
Become a Lockdown Sceptic!

Sunday 26 April 2020

Still pineapple distancing

Trolling pedants

More famous El Arroyo signs here
34 other amusing ones here…

Priti, Priti, Please!

Last night watched Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, front the latest government presser.
She said Britain couldn’t open up again until five criteria are met, the last of which is “confidence that any adjustments won’t lead to a second wave”. But that’s impossible. How can there ever be such a thing? You have to try and see.
And also: have we not learned anything from the first wave? Like, how to test, how to trace, how to isolate clusters? Why did none of the media ask this question? Which seems, to me at leat, to be the most germane.
And why did no one ask her about Hong Kong where we have much lighter lockdown — much lighter than the UK — and yet low infection and death figures? Isn’t there something to learn here?
Priti said she “sympathises” with people having difficulties,  it I’ll bet she doesn’t because she’s never had to meet a payroll and so cannot know the “difficulties” of losing your whole livelihood.
Just before the presser we had the BBC no less showing empty hospital wards, because so few non-Covid patients s are being treated, empty operating theatres because people are afraid to come in for elective surgery and the recently-built Nightingale hospitals are almost empty. Why did no one ask about this. Hasn’t the “Save the NHS” gig just about done enough?
And why did no one ask her for a detailed plan for opening up? A plan that goes beyond repeating the five criteria, most of which are met, and the last one of which is such a loophole that it might be excuse, or reason, never to open up.
I’m a big fan of Priti Patel, but the media gave her a pass last night. I was disappointed at how willing she seems to be to keep a lockdown going no matter what. And disappointed the media let her get away with it.

Covid-19 virus update, 26 April

My spreadsheet from figures at Worldometer 
HK Total = 1038. New = 2

Egrets return to Tai Po after a tree pruning mishap three years ago destroyed a nesting area

Saturday 25 April 2020

Niall Ferguson on the response to Covid-19 [”It didn’t need to be this way”]

Link here
Harvard and Stanford Universities Senior Fellow and prolific author Niall Ferguson is one of the world's pre-eminent experts on history, politics and economics. His policy insights into the current coronavirus crisis are unsurpassed. Here he talks with ex Australian Deputy PM John Anderson.
He excoriates not just China, but also the US and Europe. And not just from hindsight, cause he was warning way back in January at the DAVOS conference.
A gripe (@ around 14’): no mention of Hong Kong. Yet we are doing the best in the world, statistically. I guess that may be because we are “China adjacent”, and China = Bad, so we too are the “one who can’t be mentioned”. But that’s a bit crazy, as there are ways we’re handling it that are keeping deaths down, without the ruinous lockdowns in other countries.
ADDED: I just want to say: I don’t necessarily agree with every single thing prof Ferguson says. I don’t know why we got to a place where we hate on a person if they don’t agree with every single one of our own prejudices.

Ignoring the outrage mobs and the virtue signalers, The Spectator provides a leading haven for witty candor.

How ‘Mr Spectator’ came to life. [Webarchive]
The Spectator: A magazine I have enjoyed for decades. Just as I have (or did) the American equivalent to its left, The New Yorker for many decades until it drowned in its own self importance, lengthy essays on things we (or at least I) didn’t care much about.... Still, back to the Speccie.
To Speccie columnists mentioned by Kyle Smith, I would have added Taki in High Life and Jeremy Clarke in Low Life.
It really is such a refreshing magazine. Cruchy, like celery when so much we read is spun sugar pabulum. Reading the Speccie is like diving into the surf at Bondi - clear, fresh, cool, crisp, frothy - after wallowing in a warm bath.
Here is a worthy encomium from Kyle Smith in the National Review:
It’s a cliché to say a great magazine ought to sparkle like a brilliant cocktail party. What’s even better is a magazine that’s more like the unofficial party after the party, an unplanned trip to a slightly seedy pub after the blabbers and bores have gone home, with mischief and rudeness hanging in the air. Everyone has had quite a lot to drink and quite little to eat. The diehards become partners in a shared project of wit, candor, and outlandishness. The Spectator is that pub free-for-all in magazine form, a weekly conspiracy to be interesting.
Happy 10,000th hebdomaversary to the first magazine ever to publish 10,000 issues, from 1828 to this week. The Spectator resembles a news weekly but really isn’t. It’s a right-leaning journal of culture and ideas with a thin wrapper of news around it: the opening “leader” (editorial) and the “Portrait of the Week,” a one-page backgrounder on what the writers will be arguing about over their pints throughout the course of the issue. You say you don’t really follow Britain? Have no fear. A few issues of The Spectator and you’ll be right up to speed. Once you’ve learned the cast of characters, you’ll share the little zing of delight I get each Thursday morning when the iPad brings me a fresh new issue. [Keep reading... or “Read more” below the fold. Or Webarchive]:

Surface Tension... Distancing

Beach Central

Sam Pak Beach, Discovery Bay, Low tide.. Central in background
Tap/click to enlarge
This is a 2 minute 33 second bike ride from our front door.
Over the hill is HK Disneyland. Now covid-closed.
Hong Kong Island and Central in the distance.
Looking back to DB from Sam Pak beach
Jing on Sam Pak beach

Covid-19 virus update, 25 April

My spreadsheet from figures at Worldometer 
Big jump in cases perhaps because more testing. HK Total = 1036. New = zero

Anzac Day. Mutti (98) has just done the one minutes silence at her front door at 11:00 AEST. Hope to get a photo. Listen to some of her reminiscences, with me, about her time with the NZ Air Force and immediately post-war Japan

Historian Niall Ferguson talks to John Anderson about the pandemic warmings he gave back in January, how was ignored and  now American, European and Chinese all had major screw ups. Result of slow action is overreaction. He thinks we, the west, have overreacted. So a lockdown Sceptic.
[yet again, like so many commenters, when talking of who has done well, Ferguson ignores Hong Kong, which has the best record in the world. Statistically].
Japan, EU and the US luring companies out of China
Having run a medium enterprise here in Hong Kong, it’s the SMEs — Small and Medium Enterprises — I worry about. Can they survive?
Gilead Sciences will be delighted with WHO. Rendesivr fails, trial results posted accidentally.

Protest fallout: in the category of “what did you expect?”  Cabinet reshuffle brings in hardliners. So protests are only limiting the very broad freedoms we have enjoyed since handover. Grrr…

Friday 24 April 2020

Bird Shard Thames

From here

Michael Moore presents: "Planet of the Humans"

UPDATE (15 May 2020): Forbes does a comprehensive take down of the doco.  A good read for latest on renewables and population growth. Again, though, no mention of  nuclear or SMR. [See article on nuclear and 3D printed nuclear power core]
UPDATE (9 May 2020): Pretty much all the reviews I’m seeing are slamming this doco. FWIW.
Oh Boy! This is pretty depressing. Bear in mind: Michale Moore, producer and Jeff Gibbs, director, are both lifelong environmentalists, and supporters (heretofore) of renewables.
The overall message is: (A): Renewable energy have sold out to corporations and (B) therefore the only way out is to reduce population and consumption pre capita.
1.  Why no mention of nuclear? With Small Modular Reactors [SMRs] coming on stream everywhere, these will be better answer than wind and solar. And Bill Gates has his TerraPower new nuke tech.
2.  Why no recognition that fertility rates are dropping and global population is likely to start dropping from 2050? [Reference]
Re the Biomass energy: I did wonder about the amount of Biomass energy that Germany was generating and calling “renewable”.  At the time I thought “huh?”, how can that be? Renewable? And it turns out that it’s not, of course. It’s a con....
I also didn’t know that the Ivanpah Concentrated Solar plant, that Governor Arnie opened to much fanfare in 2010, was falling apart when they visited.
I was also pretty shaken by the statement that wind and solar farms are basically natural gas facilities, with the wind and solar tacked on. 
PS: apparently this is only available for a month, from now. And might even be removed, so watch quick.

ADDED (25/4): Critique of the film in Forbes. And environmentalists demand the film be taken down, in an article has a monumental straw man: saying the doc claims EVs are no better and maybe worse than ICVs.* It doesn’t say that, it simply makes the point that the more the electricity used to charge an EV is fossil fuel generated, the less green an EV is. Which is true. I’d generally agree that there are skewed perspectives in the doc. But it’s useful in making various points about renewables that many don’t know. Just how toxic the processes are to make solar panels, and wind turbines, for example.
And my greatest criticisms: no mention of nuclear. Without which no green electric future. And also ignores continued world fertility declines. It’s rather Malthusian in that way, as the Forbes article notes.
*…The implication is clear: electric vehicles only burn coal and are therefore no better or perhaps worse for the environment than gas-powered cars
Gizmodos review 


Epiphytic ‘Dancing Lady’ Orchid. Gold Dust Croton.
Growing on our Michelia stump 
ADDED, 1 May 2020: A note on the Michelia stump. We planted it in 2002 as a youngster when we bought the house and planted the garden. It was barely three feet tall and we were told it would be a useful addition to our hedge. Instead it grew to 40 or 50 feet. It got knocked nearly down by typhoon Mangkhut in 2018. We had to bring in tree surgeons.
Usually if we cut a tree to a stump it regrows. Not the Michelia. No worries. It’s a home for happy epiphytes. 

Covid-19 virus update, 24 April

My spreadsheet from figures at Worldometer 
HK Total = 1036. New = 2.  Both imported.
Time for lockdowns to be eased. Let the under 60s back to work. Can social disruptions possibly last another year? Because there’s no empirical evidence for lockdowns.
News watching and I’d like to be ABC = Anything But Covid. But it’s hard. Flipping the channels and it’s AAC = All About Covid. Sigh… CNA tells us one third of the world population is in some form of lockdown. I reckon we’ll come to see what we’re doing now as massive overreaction. [ADDED: Though Bill Gates thinks not]

Listening to “Millport” about the tiny Scottish port, and it’s pretty weird. BBC Radio 4 Extra.

China loses face with ‘face mask diplomacy’.  Missouri’s misguided lawsuit against China.

From Lockdown Sceptic, originally from Babylon Bee:
I copped some of this myself. When I wrote ‘When will it end?’ on 21 March people (some) called me cruel, heartless, not caring about deaths… (‘I want people to die’). All a bit surprising to me, and weird, at the time, as all I was doing was wondering when we could go back to work. But people (some) are locked into a binary: either you’re for the economy or you’re for life.  But it’s not a binary. Even lockdown has its death costs, some direct - like people dying of cancer undiagnosed because of focus on Covid-19. Let alone the mental anguish of mom and pop stores losing what they’ve taken a lifetime to build.
Please note: people calling for ongoing lockdowns are always in secure salaried jobs. None meeting a payroll. 

Thursday 23 April 2020

“Somehow things just don’t seem right”....

The Sound of Reason -- Empty World

Still Bread with lemons

Covid-19 virus update, 23 April

My spreadsheet from figures at Worldometer 
HK Total = 1034. New = 4. All arrivals from UK. Picked up at airport.

World Food Programme official warns “More people could die from the economic impact of the Covid-19 than from the virus itself.” WFP Director David Beasley.
Me: we have to get realistic measures for easing lockdowns.  Vaccine a year away at least and maybe never. Completely eradicating the virus is impossible. Some deaths have to be accepted. How many? Who will say? (Not WHO).

Revealed: US leaked cable telling officials how to slander China, with talking points.
Snitches backfire: NY Mayor Bill De Blasio called for New Yorkers to rat on their neighbours who violated social distance orders. Result: he was inundated with dick pix!
SCMP cuts as revenues ‘drop significantly
Joining the Lockdown Sceptics: US-China study says lockdowns will destroy economies with minimal impact on spread of virus:
The approach, [flattening the curve] which has been adopted by many countries in the hope that warmer weather and a future vaccine will help rein in the virus, could destroy economies while having little effect on cutting infections, the researchers led by Peking University Professor Liu Yu said. [More…]
Europe: Tales of inaction, complacency, confusion, selfishness. Remember the EU Chief Science adviser quit because no one took notice of his virus warning. Politico Report
China: Lancet study shows number of cases in China probably four times higher. Result: More infectious, Less deadly.  China’s ‘Grid Control’ system explained.
Coronavirus blame game grinds on.

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Photographer Julia Keil turned the camera on herself, inspired by paintings, the cinema...

Photographer Julia Keil decided to turn the camera
on herself, making a series of self-portraits
inspired by paintings, the cinema or other photographs
Lovely.... [I just looked at them again. And like them even more]

[H/t to Althouse, who likes the Picasso Blue Period one towards the end]

I remain a Lockdown Sceptic. And there are others....

I first came out of the closet as a “Lockdown Denier” (7 April), but now the term most used is “sceptic”. Sounds rather like a repeat of the climate stuff....
I got a lot of flack for “When will it end?” of 21 March, with people accusing me of having no respect for life, “blood on my hands”, suggestions that I was an “Anti-Vaxxer”(!) and -- all in caps -- “ONE DEATH IS TOO MUCH. PERIOD”. Which of course is nonsense, but then people have been scared into thinking that any, any policy is right to stop corona deaths, including the crushing of the economy. But I don’t think so. And other also don’t think so.
Peter Hitchens, the ex-Marxist and brother of the late ex-Trotskyist Christopher, says in the video above “it’s not the economy vs lives. It’s lives vs lives”. Given that the lockdown also costs lives -- depression, suicides, etc...
Toby Young has started a blog, Lockdown Sceptics.
And we three are in the most vulnerable group, the over 60s, me over 70. Men 62% of deaths.
The UK figures for deaths by age which I got just recently, are almost exactly the same as the earlier ones we had from China (which gives some measure of support for Chinese stats, at least on death cohorts). 80% of deaths in the over 70s and 93% of deaths in the over 60s:
This is pretty much the identical chart to the one I posted on 22 March, which was based on Chinese figures and where I said, “Ok, Boomer, time to stand up!”

Meantime conspiracy theories continue. There are truly some people whose brains are not working properly.  Maybe it’s the 5G.... (kidding... kidding!)

Covid-19 virus update, 22 April

My spreadsheet from figures at Worldometer 
Boredom sets in. Even the figures are boring. Wanting to get back to gym. To the pool.
HK Total = 1030. New = 4. All imported and found at the airport. Social distancing continues, though restaurant restrictions eased.

Being forced together is forcing couples apart.
Poll: views of China hit new lows. Of course they have, because the media hate on China is relentless.
I must say, on blogs of left and right there’s a tsunami of China hatred and now drumbeats of war. everybody has learned how to say “Thucydides". A lot of people who ought to know better are spewing hateful and ignorant stuff. Scary.
If people now say “China must pay” for the virus then what about the so-called “Global Financial Crisis” which was without a doubt caused by shoddy, immoral practices on Wall Street. It can’t be too late for “reparations” for the “American Financial Crisis”, can it? While the scientific search for source of virus continues. The political source is clear; the actual, real, scientific source remains uncertain. As European countries say.* Maybe the wet market. Maybe earlier forms in other countries. Uncertain.
*ADDED (23 April): /Snip:
Merkel joins a growing chorus demanding that China release more information about the virus, underlining the level of unease for the European leader who is generally seen as less critical of the Chinese government in public.

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Discovery Bay Covid Cases, update

Green dots are over 14 days since tested positive, Red under 14 days
There has not been a new case in DB for weeks. 
This is really just for the record, though one thing to note is that some of the still hospitalised are over 14 days since diagnosis.
If I want to create a conspiracy theory, how easy: all the still Hospitalised are in the South, all the Discharged are in the North. Why? Huh? What are they hiding? Hmmm?

I’m off for a bike ride. In the park. To mingle, at a social distance, with fellow citizens...

Top Shots -- Prior Attire in Milton Keynes

Izabela Pitcher, owner of Prior Attire, and her husband Lucas
take their daily evening walk around their Buckinghamshire village
near Milton Keynes, dressed in historical attire, April 13, 2020.

(Matthew Childs/Reuters)
ADDED: As I look again at the photo, I love the look Izabela -- a strikingly beautiful woman -- is giving her husband, Lucas. It’s clearly very fond, appreciative (of his own good looks), loving, proud even. What a very handsome couple!
Izabala was aware of the camera, I’m guessing, but was it a professional shoot? Or just a random shot by Matthew Childs, of Reuters, who was wandering around their Buckhinghamshire village as Izabela and Lucas went about their “daily evening walk”, and who had to then ask their permission to use it?
And wondering just what got Izabela (a “z” and only one “l”) into the business of “Prior Attire”?  Was Jane Austen involved somewhere along the way? And whether they do this promenade every evening, or just during lockdowns? And just how much hassle is it to put on all that gear? And to think people used to do it as a matter of everyday course. In Prior Days.

Other Top Shot photos here

ADDED: Reader note:  Funnily enough we walked from  Olney through the water meadows by the River Ouse to Clifton Reynes on Sunday. (The village that is home to Prior Attire). It is such a beautiful  tranquil quaint village. Typically English,  stone cottages,  Wisteria around the porches, climbing the walls   Cottage gardens  .
A breath of fresh air , a breath of heaven. Far from the 'madding crowd'


From North Plaza Pier, Discovery Bay 

Covid-19 virus update, 21 April

My spreadsheet from figures at Worldometer 
Sigh … more of the same. Hong Kong Total = 1026. New = Zero

Listening to Poirot, “Lord Edgware Dies”, on Radio 4 Extra. Ep 1. Lord Edgware is a cruel monster. Lady Edgware wants a divorce. Asks Poirot to help.

North Plaza dinner 
Here’s a thing that I’ve also mentioned before.[And]
Here in Hong Kong, the experience of SARS meant we were hyper-attuned to viruses, we kept on wearing masks -- not everyone, not everday, but seeing people with a mask was not an unusual thing --  we kept on disinfecting elevator buttons.  As soon as people heard of a new virus, on went the masks, and back came the widespread disinfecting.
But while swift government action, relentless tracking and well-organised testing regimes have undoubtedly played a part, increasingly observers are suggesting there is another pillar to the success of both Hong Kong and South Korea: the mindsets of their people. More …
Prof Tom Plate in Kishore Mahbubami’s most recent book “Has China Won?” About which we saw a vid in conversation with Graham Allison. Plenty of thought provoking stuff not in the usual narrative.

Monday 20 April 2020

“Wild Creatures in Hong Kong” by Robert I. Ferguson

From Robert Ferguson’s blog here
My copy of the newly published “Wild Creatures in Hong Kong” by Robert I. Ferguson arrived in the post today. It’s a handbook, “a guide to some fo the wonderful animals around us” in Hong Kong, with fantastic pictures by Robert. It’s meant to be carried along on your walks in the Country Parks.
Like Robert, we’re also fans of dragonflies. We have them here, floating over our fish pond, especially in the evening, predating mosquitos, and others…
They’re fearsome predators. David Attenborough was on about dragonflies last night. Said they have a 95% success rate of catching their prey in the air, much higher than any other animal.
That’s due to their fantastic eyes, their speed and a basket they have between their legs when homing in on prey. Nothing that humans have made comes close to what these wonderful creatures can do in the air.
ADDED (5 May 2020): I’m imagining the world from the point of view of a mosquito. Buzzing around the pond. You look up. Or down. Or whatever. And see a dragon fly that’s homing in on you. What’s it going to seem like? A jumbo jet! Isn’t it? A jumbo jet with legs where the undercarriage should be.  And great big net held between those fearsome legs.  Homing in on you! Scary. But mosquitoes get scared? Do insects? I dunno.
More from Robert on the mighty dragonfly; go over to his blog to order the booklet:
The word dragonfly has its source in the myth that dragonflies were once dragons, both having long thin bodies and outstretched wings. Called the ‘Devil’s riding horse’ in Old English, dragonflies were believed to be either demonic or seen as a poisonous winged snake. In contrast, dragonflies have been revered in Asia. Generally associated with prosperity and harmony, they are cultural symbols of good harvests and are good luck charms. (Japan’s ancient name Akitsushmia literally means “dragonfly island”). They are also farmed and eaten – both as larva and as adults – specifically in Indonesia and China.
Dragonflies are excellent hunters, using the basket formed by its legs to catch insects whilst flying. Amazingly they can eat food equal to its own weight in less than 30 minutes. Their prey includes mayflies, flies, mosquitoes, and other insects, even butterflies and bees. More....