|Hong Kong Flower. Bauhinia and the Boomer's Bike|
|Madagascar Periwinkle. Catharanthus Roseus|
Discovery Bay, Hong Kong looking west to Tiger Head mountains
In the case of Joe, it’s put down to “inflation, Covid and crime”.
In the case of inflation, perhaps we’d be in a similar situation if Trump were still president. Though surely to goodness it helps not one whit that the BidenAdmin is pumping trillions into an already overheated market. That’s Eco 101.
Covid is covid. What’s to say? Vaccine mandates are unpopular for sure.
Crime? Well, wow, in progressive states all over the US, crime rates are up. Vids of shoplifting are just breathtaking / shocking: in San Francisco they’re looting shops right in front of security guards. Who are told that they are not to touch them, on pain of dismissal. This has been going on for some time now, but somehow the connection between policy (defund and demonise police) and outcome (more crime) is never made. There are no dots joined up. Weird. [ADDED: another eg]
Crime is a major issue across the country — and it is hurting Democrats badly. Last year, as progressives shouted “defund the police,” a cowed Democratic convention failed even to mention the riots breaking out in city after city. Total silence. The “bail reform” they pushed is directly responsible for putting violent offenders back on the streets and behind the wheel in Waukesha.
Now, disappointed voters are responding. They are defeating proposals to defund or reimagine the police in even the most liberal cities, including Minneapolis, the epicenter of the defund movement. The recent spate of smash-and-grab robberies in Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Chicago have ratcheted up public outrage even further, much of it directed at “Justice Democrat” prosecutors who refuse to prosecute “property crimes.” Criminal gangs have taken notice and taken advantage. [More]
I thought there would be even more zoomorphic artwork in Chinese, thinking of the character like 🐎 馬 ma, for example, but it’s not such a big thing after all. Given, I guess, that the character itself is a picture. Below is some early Chinese pictography, done on oracle bones, dating to pre-CE. I do find these attractive, the precursor to one of my favourite Chinese scripts, the Lesser Seal.
|From Beyond calligraphy. Read Top>bottom, R>L|
Dorsey tweeted Sunday night that he loves Twitter. It’s fair today to wonder if he loves where it’s headed. “Will Twitter become an ocean of suck?”
Above link: Matt Taibbi on Jack Dorsey's resignation as Twitter CEO.
Me, I never tweet. Because I fear getting caught up in Twitter battles. But I do have an account, for access. I follow a few hundred people. Which I enjoy. I try to have a mix of left and right. I reckon my Twitter feed gives a pretty good taste of the zeitgeist. Worldwide even. At least for the world that speaks English on Twitter, which is to say: Anglophone Plus. The “Plus” is for the many non-native speakers who use English on as the lingua franca as in science journals.
I’m worried that Parag Agrawal, the new CEO, will be even less a champ of free speech than Dorsey.Who wasn’t great but tried. Remembering that Twitter’s mission statement was “the free speech platform for the free speech party”. And Agrawal seems to have played that down. In past tweets….
Even if you’re a follower of Extinction Rebellion or similar, this talk has a lot to chew on.
I’ve long been impressed by Lomborg’s analysis. Pity is, on the extremes of climate alarmism, his views will be dismissed as “climate denial” or worse. He’s not. He stresses innovation, a view that is mocked by the alarmist factions; but should not be. The UN climate panel reports have all said the same: climate change Is real, man made but not cause for alarm or despair. They do not support the alarmist narrative, but do support the importance of innovation to address climate change. The UN reports also, by the way, support nuclear, as, of course, so does Lomborg, especially Gen IV nuclear which requires… innovation! Which will reduce costs and time-to-market.
RE: @06:15: Lomborg’s point on the drop in people killed by climate-related catastrophes (typhoons, floods, droughts), which were 500,000 a century ago and just 7,000 in 2021a drop of 99%), we have seen it right here in Hong Kong. We used to have hundreds, sometimes thousands, killed by each typhoon (“hurricane” in the west), where’s since I’ve been here, forty years, there have been zero killed. That’s because we adapted and got better at protections. And we have those protections because we’re rich. Contrast poor Haiti, where the last typhoon killed over a thousand people.
|T’was the Robin, in the shade, M’lud|
Which brings to mind that horrid as Homo sapiens can be, we tend not to eat our prey while it’s still struggling.
Mostly. I’m reminded of a “Live Fish” (活鱼, huo yu) dish served up to us in northeast China fifty years ago. A fine fish on a platter, still moving. We eat the flesh chopsticked off, down to the head and backbone, still wriggling. One of the Aussie guests, scientists on an exchange program, was rather taken aback and asked “but isn’t this cruel?” his host replied “yes, it is!” laughing…. Then told us how it’s done. The fish, usually carp, is quickly gutted while still alive, the head wrapped in a wet towel to keep it from cooking, dipped in boiling oil for a few seconds and popped in a plate for our schmeck.
Our Magpie Robin is just doing her stuff, to live. Not knowingly cruel. That’s life. And death.
|Sure, the founders were pirates, but even that’s a bit funny|
Thanksgiving Day is here, and as is the fashion, it’s taking a beating. “What is Thanksgiving to Indigenous People? ‘A Day of Mourning,’” writes the onetime daily Bible of American mass culture, USA Today. The Washington Post fused a clickhole headline format with white guilt to create, “This tribe helped the Pilgrims survive for their first Thanksgiving. They still regret it 400 years later.” Even the pundits who didn’t rummage in the past in search of reasons for Americans to flog themselves this week found some in the future, a la the Post’s climate-change take on Turkey Day menus:“What’s on the Thanksgiving table in a hotter, drier world?” [Read Matt Taibbi’s take].
Especially pour moi. 8+ years in Europe, 3+ in the US, and 40+ in Asia. I mean, if there are such misunderstandings between those of the same culture what hope is there for China-US comprehension?
|Click above to see Kamala roasted.|
And I thought these goons are again doing Xi’s bidding and again going full Streisand Effect. Something the outside world would never have noticed now becomes a major world story because of their bumblings. Job, guys!
Then I thought: the idea is to keep the local population ignorant of the post. They don’t care about the international. Beijing bully-boys don’t want their own population to call out senior leaders and get away with it. As for the west, well Beijing simply doesn’t care. (Though now there’s the fear of boycott of the Winter Olympics, which maybe led to her recent “release”, reported in WhatsOnWeibo)
So I rang a couple of contacts in China, well plugged into locals, and they confirmed: there is NO news about this in China. Nothing. These contacts get their own news from set-top boxes with cable to the likes of CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, DW, but most locals don’t have that. Locals watch the ubiquitous local soaps and quizz shows. I tried out my theory on them and they agree — Beijing has to keep the lid on people in China. If that means pissing off the rest of the world, so be it.
ADDDED: Cindy Yu on China’s “mistress problem”.
A few other observations:
The original post was taken down in two minutes. Two minutes! Imagine that! I’m thinking -- and my contacts agree -- that the censors must have an Alert button for every single important leader, like Zhang Gaoli, and for every single public figure like Peng Shuai.
Process is like: Alert goes off > routed to a Human > human thinks 该死! Holy shit! > immediately takes it down > tells goons > Peng disappears > the west goes ape > the goons (maybe under direct orders from “the X-factor”) talk Peng into doing what she did yesterday > give “Proof of Life” > to the head of the IOC > fixed smile on face > “I’m fine”..... Really! (She asks for “privacy”, a touch ironic given the intimacy of her post, but…oh, well…).
Forced sex? The character 要 yao in the first tone means “to force”, but in the fourth tone means “to ask. This has been rendered both ways in the translations, first as “ask” (for sex) and second as “force”. Later, Peng is clearer and uses 逼 bi, which is unambiguously to “force”. So there’s definitely that accusation against Zhang. Just some ambiguity in places.
That said, the whole of the post, this open letter, reads to me more like the outpourings of a scorned woman. A jilted lover. She’s been dumped and she’s upset. It seem clear that she was in love with him, and apparently he was smitten with her as well. He was a cad, for sure. And I don’t want to sound like I’m excusing some horrid actions by Zhang. But read the post, an anguished love letter, really, and see if you don’t feel this is recognisable as that.
Zhang’s wife is a piece of work. Name of Kang Jie, which immediately reminds me of Kang Sheng, Mao’s secret police chief. A thug of the first order. AFAIK Kang Jie is no relation, but seems as sinister. Complicit, like Ghislaine Maxwell, procuring Peng for her husband, stationing a guard at his door so he wouldn’t be disturbed while poking Peng.
The below translation is from here. I’ve checked it against the Chinese; it’s accurate, indeed felicitous. It’s below the fold, with thanks. The Chinese original is underneath it.
From the depth of our hearts, a belated thank you for signing the Great Barrington Declaration. With over 850,000 signatures, together we opened up the pandemic debate. While many governments continued with their failed lockdown and other restrictive policies, things have moved in the right direction. For example, most schools have re-opened, most countries prioritized older people for vaccination and Florida rejected restrictions in favor of focused protection without the negative consequences that lockdowners predicted.
While occasionally censored, we have not been silenced. Since authoring the Declaration in October 2020, the three of us have actively advocated for focused protection through social media, op-eds and interviews on, for example, vaccine passports and natural immunity.
We have also launched Collateral Global, a charity staffed with academics from across the world to document and disseminate information about the collateral damage of the restrictive measures so that we don’t repeat the mistakes of this pandemic and are able to inform future policy with evidence and analysis. Collateral Global is crowdfunding so that this work can be done to the highest possible standards. You are welcome to join us and help us in those efforts at www.collateralglobal.org, as well as follow us on Twitter, etc. We are also planning an initiative on scientific freedom soon.
With enormous gratitude,
Jay Bhattacharya Sunetra Gupta Martin Kulldorff
PF: a reminder, that the “Great” in the Declaration doesn’t refer to the Declaration, but to the place it was signed and published, Great Barrington in Massachusetts.
Jay Bhattacharya is a professor of Medicine at Stanford University
Sunetra Gupta is a professor of epidemiology at Oxford University
Martin Kulldorf is a professor of Medicine at Harvard
I mention their titles to make the point the these are not some random rubes. They are people who know whereof they speak. They did not advise “let it rip” as they were falsely mischaracterised; they advocated “focussed protection”, which always, to me, this random rube, did seem the logical way to proceed. And which, as they indicate above, seems to be the way countries are moving.
Perhaps the most silly thing I heard to justify lockdowns was that you couldn’t just protect the elderly because that would be “age apartheid”. So instead, lockdown the whole population!
|Zuby: a British rapper and heterodox thinker. |
Click above to go to tweet thread
|Click above to go to the video|
But this is the New York Times, a
mouthpiece for the Democratic Party, a paper clearly on the Left and long-time supporter of the Democratic Party (an OR suggests the “mouthpiece” is rather too strong..)
It’s really damning. Progressive Democrats routinely block measures that would allow more housing because “Not in my backyard”.
ADDED: In print media 93% support Democrats.
Why? Why the need now to shut down this bit of freedom right now, 18 years after they started?
More than 800 Hong Kong diners were warned or fined on Friday night after police raided two unlicensed barbecue sites in Mei Foo, arresting 17 owners and staff.
The move followed recent efforts by authorities to put up giant banners outside housing estates in the district, warning residents they could be prosecuted if they patronised the unauthorised venues at Kau Wah Keng. [Read on…]
|Our patio Siena One. I read the morning papers here and am thankful|
Sailing to the Po Toi and Lamma on the agends.
Pool stays open until tomorrow. We’ll go for a valedictory swim.
Tonight is my every-Saturday-night-meal that I cook, with 7:00 pm as the strict starting time. I enjoy doing it and it seems the recipients do too. For the few times I’ve gone into “grumpy old man” mode and threatened not to serve up any more Saturday meals I’m pleaded with to continue. TBF, we all enjoy the process and the routine. Every week I have to come up with a new main dish. This week it’s a French take on seafood pie: Seafood gratin Dieppe style (a Rick Steyn inspiration). Simple and yum. Served with caramelised apples, which Rick assures us is “not too Normandy”. We’ll see.
The seafood is prawns, scallops, salmon and cod. All harvested responsibly, of course! The gratin is Emmental and Panko. Result: crunch. Maybe I’ll add a touch of the Parmesan I just bought from Il Bel Paese.
Fine Days in Hong Kong.
|Mates return from Po Toi. Ask us to join. We agree|
For decades foreigners arrived in floods. decades. Now they are leaving. That’s sad. As the article says good for neither China nor the world. Some of this China has brought on itself. Some cause Covid. (Of course. Everything bad these days is “cause Covid”).
At a time when China’s role on the world stage is growing, it is also becoming more isolated and less international. The number of foreigners working in China’s two most important cities has declined sharply in the past decade.
In Shanghai, China’s international and commercial centre, the number of expatriates fell more than 20 per cent in the past decade from more than 208,000 to around 163,000.
The numbers are even more extreme in Beijing. The number of foreigners has fallen by more than 40 per cent since 2010, to about 63,000. By comparison, Luxembourg has around 630,000 total residents, almost half of whom are foreign workers. [More…]
|Click screenshot above to go to the video|
In late May 2003, studies from samples of wild animals sold as food in the local market in Guangdong, China, found a strain of SARS coronavirus could be isolated from masked palm civets (Paguma sp.), but the animals did not always show clinical signs. The preliminary conclusion was the SARS virus crossed the xenographic barrier from palm civet to humans, and more than 10,000 masked palm civets were killed in Guangdong Province. The virus was also later found in raccoon dogs (Nyctereuteus sp.), ferret badgers (Melogale spp.), and domestic cats. In 2005, two studies identified a number of SARS-like coronaviruses in Chinese bats. Although the bat SARS virus did not replicate in cell culture, in 2008, American researchers altered the genetic structure of bat SARS virus with the human receptor binding domain both in the bat virus and in the mice which demonstrated how zoonosis might occur in evolution. Phylogenetic analysis of these viruses indicated a high probability that SARS coronavirus originated in bats and spread to humans either directly or through animals held in Chinese markets. The bats did not show any visible signs of disease, but are the likely natural reservoirs of SARS-like coronaviruses. In 2004, scientists from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of the University of Hong Kong and the Guangzhou Centre for Disease Control and Prevention established a genetic link between the SARS coronavirus appearing in civets and humans, confirming claims that the virus had jumped across species. [Source]
1. Top story is about the closure yesterday of the whole of Hong Kong Disneyland. Because one case. Imported.
2. The second story is also because zero Covid policy: FedEx says it’s pulling out its HQ from Hong Kong because there is “no clear pathway out” of the current order lockdowns.
As I describe it, this is Hong Kong deciding on the GBA strategy rather than the GFC strategy.
GBA = the Greater Bay Area of southern China. That is looking inwards to China. Part of Belt and Road. A boring government description of GBA, highlighting civil servants’ ineptitude at PR. Plenty of other descriptions at your favourite search engine…
GFC = Global Financial Centre, which is what we’ve been since the seventies. Which means looking outward to the world. Well, we e made our bed, it would seem. FedEx is just one more in the gathering departure of international companies.
3. The bottom story is Joe Biden asking China for more oil. Because he’s shut down pipelines and halted fracking. Which kind of means no net reduction of emissions due to oil hasn’t really changed, just that the source of the oil has changed. Fracked gas emissions are less than a fifth of oil’s. The escaped methane during fracking issue is largely fixed. Opponents are driven by opposing the good because it’s not perfect. Yet it did allow the US to reduce carbon emissions while increasing renewables.
|Buddha Pine. Tumbling Composter, kitchen garden|
The one above cost about $US 90 delivered HK. It’s even better than the old one, as each chamber is individually rotatable. So it’s never too heavy to turn as the last was when full.
These tumbling compost bins are fantastic. They make rich, clean, dark, sweet compost in less than a month. At least for us here in tropical Hong Kong at 25-30C and high humidity. YMMV.
If this one lasts three years that’ll do fine.
We do have an upright compost bin that’s twenty years old and still usable. But we don’t use it much as it’s home to a family of field mice that we don’t like to disturb. They’re rats, really, but that’s just so much of a pejorative and we don’t like to diss them. After all, they’re smart and considerate. They gave us considerable pleasure as we watched them work out how to get to the bird feeder when we’d moved it specifically so they wouldn’t be able get to it. They were. Eventually they worked out a path and now they share the bird feeder, which we let them and the birds don’t seem to mind. They — the Mouse Family — trouble us not at all. And, we suspect, young mouse family members provide the occasional meal to one of our resident Rat snakes. Plus they’re small. For rats. So it doesn’t seem so mawkish to call them Mr and Ms Mouse and family …
|Click to enlarge. Online here|
Same is true for property investments, so seems, as above in today’s South China Morning Post. 70% increase in a year. A year in which Xi Jinping and his bully buddies have been trying to punish Oz for having the temerity to ask for an international investigation into the origins of Covid. They stopped buying Aussie coal; result: coal prices are at record levels and coal shortages in China lead to power cuts. Chalk it up. Australia: 1, China: 0
ADDED: An OP points out the big increases in investment to commercial property in Australia (article above) is from the world, not just China. True. My main point stands: China’s embargo on Australian commodities has done nothing to Oz, but hurt China.
|The nurse is looking at the baby with such|
love and tenderness. You can tell even
through the mask
The article above suggests some serious concern about falling birth rates, like right now. In some places up to 21% falls y-o-y. That’s dramatic (to say the very least). Last year deaths in China outpaced births.
Couple that with a report I posted last week: that China may have a smaller population than it thinks because regional officials have been inflating their census figures (latest 2020), because of unintended consequences of some policies, like.bigger population = more subsidies.
“Population is destiny”.
|Taihang, China, solar farm. Click screenshot to go to the thread|
|Daya Bay nuclear staton. We’ve sailed in the bay often. Lovely|
|Shu Fa “calligraphy". Top to bottom, L to R: Seal (Zhuang) Script;|
Clerical (Li); Grass (Cao); Running (Xing); Standard (Kai)
Asks someone on Quora, and Alex answers with some interesting observations. If I’d been asked, I’d tend to say that it has something to do with the writing instruments after the development the Greater and Lesser Seal scripts which used hard tipped writing tools. After around the Han dynasty (200BCE) calligraphers began using flexible brushes. This led to standardisation of the strokes and stroke order (summarised in the character yong, 永, “forever” which has all nine). A side effect is it’s hard to write 0 with a brush -- try it and see how unnatural it feels.
Alex makes some interesting points, so copy his answer to the question below, from here:
In “South China Morning Post; a Hong Kong story” they give us a century of Hong Kong through their own lens.
What jumps out at me is just how turbulent and dangerous a century it was. It makes our worries of Covid, inflation, poor leadership …seem trivial. Or at least put our concerns in perspective.
So that’s why we sit here, two years after the first cases. I used to travel 6-8 times a year. The airport being just 23 minutes door to lounge. Now it’s a ghost town. When will it end?
All a result of our zero Covid policy which we share with our beloved mainland. We have decided to look inwards to China rather than outwards to the world