Tuesday 31 January 2023

“It’s Time for the Scientific Community to Admit We Were Wrong About COVID and It Cost Lives” | Kevin Bass @ Newsweek

Schools closed. And masked when re-opened

Kevin Bass at Newsweek
! Opening paras:

As a medical student and researcher, I staunchly supported the efforts of the public health authorities when it came to COVID-19. I believed that the authorities responded to the largest public health crisis of our lives with compassion, diligence, and scientific expertise. I was with them when they called for lockdowns, vaccines, and boosters.

I was wrong. We in the scientific community were wrong. And it cost lives.

Concluding paras:

My motivation for writing this is simple: It's clear to me that for public trust to be restored in science, scientists should publicly discuss what went right and what went wrong during the pandemic, and where we could have done better.

It's OK to be wrong and admit where one was wrong and what one learned. That's a central part of the way science works. Yet I fear that many are too entrenched in groupthink—and too afraid to publicly take responsibility—to do this.

What have Pfizer been up to?

Click above for video
I’m not yet concluding anything about this -- an Pfizer guy admitting to an undercover journo, that Pfizer manipulates the coronavirus, in order to make vaccines to attack them. Some say the Pfizer guy is not really a Pfizer guy. Pfizer itself are not confirming or denying. If true, it’s shocking that Pfizer have been making — and apparently still are — new versions of the coronavirus to test new vaccines — “Gain of Function”, anyone? Done, some would say, to keep the vaccine money-ball rolling. 

YouTube has removed the original Project Veritas video. But it’s kept inside videos like Jimmy Dore’s. Who describes himself as a “pothead comedian”.

Patrick Moore, Greenpeace: "Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom”

Below, from the introduction to this book at the Amazon link, in this colour:

Here is Dr. Patrick Moore's description of his unique thesis as presented in "Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom.

"It dawned on me one day that most of the scare stories in the media today are based on things that are either invisible, like CO2 and radiation, or very remote, like polar bears and coral reefs. Thus, the average person cannot observe and verify the truth of these claims for themselves. They must rely on activists, the media, politicians, and scientists - all of whom have a huge financial and/or political interest in the subject - to tell them the truth. 

This is my effort, after 50 years as a scientist and environmental activist, to expose the misinformation and outright lies used to scare us and our children about the future of the Earth. Direct observation is the very basis of science. Without verified observation it is not possible to know the truth. That is the sharp focus of this book.

The book contains 98 color photographs, illustrations, and charts. A key target audience is parents who do not approve of the "progressive" school curriculum and its alarmism about the future of civilization and the natural world. 

Dr. Moore hopes these parents will read his book and pass it on to their high-school and older children to give them an alternative to the bleak future predicted by the prophets of doom. 

Many other audiences will also find the book informative and convincing.In 11 chapters the reader is clearly shown that citizens are being misinformed by many environmental doomsday prophesies, ones they cannot verify for themselves. 

  • We are told that nuclear energy is very dangerous when the numbers prove it is one of the safest technologies. 
  • We are told polar bears will go extinct soon when their population has been growing steadily for nearly 50 years. 
  • We are told that there is something harmful in genetically modified food crops when it is invisible, has no name and no chemical formula. 
  • We are told severe forest fires are caused by climate change when they are actually caused by poor management of fuel load (dead wood) in the forest. 
  • We are told that all the coral reefs will die by 2100 when in fact the most diverse coral reefs are found in the warmest oceans in the world. 
  • And of course, we are told that invisible CO2 from using fossil fuels, accounting for more than 80 percent of our energy supply, will make the Earth too hot for life. 

All of these scare stories, and many more, are simply not true. And this book will convince you, your family, and your colleagues of that. There is no substitute for the truth.

Dr. Patrick Moore was one of the co-founders of Greenpeace and sailed on the first Greenpeace campaign against US H-bomb tests in Alaska. Upon receiving his PhD in ecology, he spent 15 years in the top committee of Greenpeace and led many of its environmental campaigns. Greenpeace began as a group of volunteers with noble intentions. Over the years it became very successful with campaigns to save the whales, stop the mass slaughter of baby seals, prevent toxic dumping into the air, water and earth, and many more. Greenpeace found itself in the early 1980s with more than $100 million coming in annually and close to 1,000 people on the payroll. It had become a business and fundraising moved to the top of the priority list. New campaigns were more about using sensationalism, misinformation and fear to attract donations. Dr. Moore said good-bye in 1986 as Greenpeace was turning into a racket peddling junk science. Since then he has strived to be a sensible environmentalist, basing his beliefs on sound science and logical thinking. This book is the culmination of 50 years of learning during Dr. Moore's multi-faceted quest for the truth about environmental issues (an historical account of Dr. Moore's 15 years with Greenpeace and his analysis of environmental subjects are in his previous book, "Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout - The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist.

PF ADDED: Long-form video discussing with Tom Nelson his history and views on things, many for sure not mainstream. We need to remember the man was a founder of Greenpeace. So he’s not without his creds. He does say some things that will drive climate activists crazy. Like CO2 being beneficial. And a warmer earth being good. My view is that it’s good to hear perspectives like this. Many would want to shut him down for “misinformation”, and being a “climate denier”.  But we should not shit him down. If the views of a long-time climate activist, a scientist, are egregiously wrong, they should be able to be countered by facts and logic. We should not dismiss them as being “flat-earherism”. They’re not.

Moore has views and knows his stuff. And has had experience in the real world. 

Monday 30 January 2023

Good on yer Djoko!

Winning the Oz Open. The greatest win of his career, he says.

I thought Australian authorities treated him pretty shabbily last year. Kicking him out of the country when he’d already been let in. When he was a young, fit man, had tested negative and had had the virus. Shame.

Getting off to a fresh start

It says “Canto Slang” but these are old-time sayings in standard mandarin. Called “Chen yu “, four character phrases. To the right of the phrases is my addition of the way to pronounce them in Mandarin. Underneath are the Cantonese pronunciations. 

It reminds me of a time decades ago when I met the man who’d been in charge of mainland- Taiwan relations on the mainland side, Wang Daohan. He was famous for his calligraphy. I had the gall to invent and inscribe a new “Cheng yu” — 创新 保传  Bǎo chuán Chuàng Xīn “Protect the traditional and create the new”, as we were trying to come up with new ways to handle traditional cross straits relations. 

He loved it. (Or graciously pretended to). 

Sunday 29 January 2023

“Nuclear energy should power city’s carbon neutrality push” | PF letter


Click to enlarge and clarify 
My letter was the featured one in today’s South China Morning Post. It’s lightly edited by the SCMP fact-checker; here is as submitted

I’m going to spend more time here in Hong Kong pushing for us to go full nuclear. We could do it tomorrow. There are four nuclear power stations in Guangdong, just across the border, that have offered us spare power. Those four would give us net zero electricity. Like that 🫰. 

The “reason” we don’t accept China’s spare nuclear power is because of objections by the Greens. I put “reason” in quotes, because their objections are not reason. They are emotional — they are fear-based. Fear, the most powerful of emotions. But not based on reason or science. Which is clear: Nuclear is the safest, cleanest, most reliable electric energy on the planet. Full stop.

ADDED: some comments that I don’t give enough kudos to China, for its Nuclear plans. But I do and have. I gave China kudos for Nuclear back in 2010. I recognise that China is one of the very few countries that has a realistic plan to transition to low carbon dioxide economy, by using Nuclear in a big way, as well as Wind, Solar, Hydro and natural gas. 
I underline realistic, because Net Zero is not realistic when it’s looked at closely: Michael Kelly looks at it closely. Rather nerdy, but you have to be, if Net Zero is to mean anything other than just a signal of virtue. 

SCMP fact-check my letter on Solar vs Nuclear

Ivanpah Solar. This is only one-third of it. Then you need 5x the area
for same capacity as Diablo Canyon and then 4x that to get to 
equivalent electricity production per year 

South China Morning Post fact-checker is Charmaine. (I’m sure not the only one, just the one I’ve dealt with a few times. Very decent and conscientious).

She had a couple of questions about the letter I submitted (questions I’ve only just got to, three days late)

1. Subsidies. I’d said that our electricity provider, China Light and Power (CLP) pays us for the solar power that we put into its grid via our rooftop solar panels — the Feed in Tariff — an amount five times more than the going rate for the grid power delivered by CLP. This was subsidised by the HK taxpayer, I said. 

Charmaine said it was not “the HK taxpayer”, but that costs to CLP were offset by selling Renewable Energy Certificates. I agreed I was wrong in saying it’s “the Hong Kong taxpayer” subsidies, so agreed with her edit to simply refer to “subsidies “.

In deep recesses of my mind I knew something about RECs, which are part of the whole carbon trading thing. It’s still a subsidy, of sorts, to CLP, and to us, as we would not have installed solar panels without it. At list price for electricity — the price we pay to CLP — it makes no economic sense at all to install rooftop solar panels, no matter how concerned one may be about climate change.

2. Area of land needed for solar power vs nuclear power. Charmaine said she couldn’t find a reference to my figure of 450 times as much land used in the Ivanpah Solar station vs the Diablo Canyon nuclear station. (Which I had got from EnvironmentalProgress.org/California via Michael Shellenberger, Apocalypse Never, p.188).

She points out Ivanpah Solar, capacity 380 Mw, is on 3,500 acres. Diablo Canyon Nuclear, capacity 2.2 Gw, is on 750 acres. Like for like in capacity — one Gw is 1,000 Mw — Ivanpah Solar needs 27 times the Diablo Canyon Nuclear area. [(2200/380 x 3500)/750].

Of course there are other factors involved and we agreed to a Nuclear industry figure of 75 times the land area requirement, Solar vs Nuclear. 

Since then, I’ve looked into it a bit more and I can justify the 450 times figure, because:

A. There is a 4-fold difference in annual electricity production between Solar and Nuclear for any given capacity. Ivanpah Solar net production p.a. is 21% of its capacity. Diablo Canyon Nuclear net production is 88% of its capacity. Therefore the land use figures have to be adjusted to take account of that to compare like for like in terms of actual electricity production. You need to create approx 4 times the Solar capacity to get the same amount of net electricity per year as Nuclear. 88/21 = 4 times the 27 from above = 113 the land area needed, Ivanpah Solar vs Diablo Nuclear.

But there’s more!

B. The stated 750 acres for Diablo is way too much: When I thought about it, it seemed excessive. I have visited the Daya Bay Nuclear power station in China, which the same capacity as Diablo Canyon. I’ve also owned farm acres in Australia; I know what 40 acres looks like; I know what 100 acres looks like.  750 acres is a block 1.75 km by 1.75 km. This is huge! Quite simply, it is a gross overestimate of the land needed for an equivalent sized nuclear station. At a guess Daya is on ~40 acres. Certainly nowhere near 750 acres, which is simply incredible. As in not credible. 

Then: Look more closely at the Wikipedia entry in Diablo Canyon and you find that the power facility is on just 12 acres! And that the owner of Diablo Canyon, Pacific Gas & Electric owns owns over 12,000 acres surrounding Diablo. At a guess, I’d say the 750 figure is just notional, plucked from the air. Perhaps the area that PG&E has notionally allocated to Diablo Canyon, though not the area needed to generate the power.

Now, it doesn’t need to be in just 12 acres. Allow for lawns and buffer area and say 40 acres. Then you get to 500 times the area of land needed for equivalent Solar to Nuclear [(2200/380)*3500/40]. To get exactly to the 450 x figure you need to allow 45 acres for Diablo Canyon. Looks about right to me! More than enough, from my eyeballing of Daya Bay. And eyeballing Diablo Canyon, below:

Diablo Canyon Nuclear station. No way that’s 750 acres!
ADDED: I ran the ruler over the GoogleMaps of Diablo Canyon and got around 80 acres. Which would make that multiple just over 250. 

SCMP fact-checker Charmaine letter below the fold:

Saturday 28 January 2023

“Hydrogen will not save us. Here’s why” | Sabine Hossenfelder

Click above for video
The inimitable physicist Sabine Hossenfelder with some home truths on hydrogen. Also pretty interesting!

Twitter: “A Fractal Rube Goldberg Machine”

A super interesting Twitter thread from Dave Rubin who visited Twitter HQ, in San Francisco, spoke with Elon Musk and engineers. 

“A Fractal Rube Goldberg Machine” is Elon Musk’s description of Twitter. Fiddle with one bit and all sorts of other bits are affected. Such that even some of the brightest tech brains are having trouble figuring it out.

Friday 27 January 2023

Two long-term China-resident foreigners drop China truth bombs

Click above for the video
Megyn Kelly talks to recent China-based YouTubers Winston Sterzel and Matthew Tye.

I was lucky to live in China, in the seventies, when it went on an upswing. When it went from closed to open. 

Matthew and William talk of going through a downswing. When China changed from open to closed. From welcoming foreigners to anti-foreign. 

I know old friends and colleagues, long-time residents in China, who confirm Winston amd Matthew’s observations. Me too. I never got to do, as they did, the motorbike trip around the country, but I did do car trips and train trips and bus trips. And even some bicycle trips, way back when. 

These lads describe it well, the richness of the cities, the poverty in the country just past city limits. And the growth of anti foreigner sentiment. My China-based friends confirm all this and that it’s got worse in recent times. 

From the Megyn Kelly show notes: 

“YouTubers Winston Sterzel and Matthew Tye join to discuss the toll of China’s Zero Covid lockdown policies, the rare protests late last year and China’s response, American media not understanding the China reality, how China tries to control the message and silence criticism, the nationalist movement in China., how China became more authoritarian in recent years, their personal experiences living in China as foreigners, and more”.

I agree with them this hyper-nationalist anti-foreign stuff began with Xi Jinping. I’ve said that for years. There’s his infamous “Document Nine” which kicked it all along.

I’d note too that this anti-foreigner wave is just the latest in a cycle that has repeated over the centuries, millennia, even. Examples: the Boxer Rebellion at the beginning of the 20th century, the Taiping Rebellion in the century before; even the wonderful Ming Dynasty cut itself off from foreign influence. So today is a bit of Plus ça change.…

This interview is well worth a watch. Especially if you’ve an interest in China. And who shouldn’t have, in these interconnected days? These guys know whereof they speak, at least from the POV of foreigners in China. Which will always be me. No matter what I do. No matter how much Chinese I know, just as it was for these lads. (And eventually their Chinese wives too, as they describe).

ADDED: I just realised that I’d come across their YouTube vids before this one. I’ve watched some of their stuff in the weirdest foods they’ve eaten in China. Which are weirder even than my weirdest ones which include Bull Penis and Live Fish. Oh, and Civet cat. And of course that western bête noire, Dog, aka “fragrant meat”. 

ADDED II: Their comments in the Chinese education system, from the POV of teaching in it, are particularly interesting. Towards the end 

Thursday 26 January 2023

Bali, 26 May 2017



“Climate change: why the shift to clean energy will be more painful than you think”

Click above for article 
Maybe more painful than the average reader of the South China Morning Post thinks; but not more painful than think! I’ve just finished Michael Shellenberger’s excellent Apocalypse Never, so I do understand why the shift will be “more painful”, as Daniel Yergin says, in in the article above.

Shellenberger describes himself as an “environmental humanist”. As such, we must “ground ourselves first in our commitment to the transcendent moral purpose of universal human flourishing and environmental progress, then in rationality.”

Facing climate change is a challenge, but not an existential one. We are not about to go extinct. 

The best tools to slow the change are nuclear and natural gas. Renewables like solar and wind have a place but are limited in various ways. The main thing is energy density — wind and solar are very energy dilute. 

I must say it’s refreshing to see someone like Yergin talking some hard realities, other than non-stop climate catastrophism that I’m seeing in all the MSM. Catastrophism that tells us the only solution to the “emergency” is to drop everything, to go “Net Zero” immediately, shift everything to solar and wind (no No nuclear! No Hydro power!) and to do so no matter the cost. Oh, and go Vegan.

Neither Yergin nor Shellenberger is a “climate denier”. They both accept — as pretty much everyone does now — that climate change is real and man-made. They both accept we must tackle it. The question is to weigh the costs of climate change as well as the climate change mitigation costs and get the best balance. Shellenberger argues that the catastrophists only look at the costs of climate change not at the costs of what they demand we do to stop it. (“Nothing is too costly if an asteroid is hurtling to earth”).

For Shellenberger emission reductions are best achieved with nuclear and natural gas, with some renewables like solar and wind. Also more HEP. For Yergin I’m not sure what his solution is, TBF. Except he’s pointing out that the “transition” — away from fossil fuels — will be longer and more difficult than many expect. True ‘dat. Especially since he doesn’t even mention nuclear, which is rather odd. I don’t get it.

Wednesday 25 January 2023

“Obese woman gets reality check”

This young man -- “Black Conservative Perspective” -- has a good grasp of the issues.

The “body positivity” movement is bad for America. By normalising fatness it makes America even fatter and less healthy. And I say this as a person of girth myself. We need to be telling overweight people: “eat less; exercise more”,  not feel-good incantations — outgrowths of the woke movement. Do feel bad about being fat. Because it’s not good for you. And it’s not good for society. 

“A University Violates American Principles to Appease Muslim Student Activists“

It’s been quite a while since I wrote something about Islam, which is what got me started on this blog back in 2009 (goodness!). 

Another case of an American university bending at the knee to radical Islam. It strikes me that it would have been easy for these Academic Administrators — aka bureaucrats, aka apparatchiks — to say “no” to these Muslim Brotherhood bullies demanding the sacking of a long-time professor for showing paintings of Mohammad in her Art History class.

All the apparatchiks had to do was weigh up Sharia law vs the American Constitution. Hmm…. Tough one. Not. There might have been a bit of blow back. Or not. But with just a touch of backbone, a firm and robust response from the bureaucrats this whole kerfuffle need not have happened.  To the Muslim Brotherhood: “Sorry, if you don’t like what’s being taught in Art History class, then don’t attend. We have open enquiry and freedom of expression, here in America.” Done. But not on today’s woke campuses.

The prolific, the robust, the insightful Andrew McCarthy:

Trigger alert: I couldn’t care less if there is an Islamic consensus on the question ofwhether it is halal or haram for Mohammed to be depicted in visual art. In this, I am confident that I am expressing the American consensus — although, admittedly, not the consensus of university administrators and managers, who now outnumber both academics and students. [Read on…]

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Watch: an atheist leftie comedian reflects on interactions with conservatives

Click above for video
Jamie Kilstein. Not really what you might think. On various levels.

Talks with the inimitable Adam Carolla. And Jinnifer Cohen is funny and wise, too. 

Long vid, but... fun, funny. 

Giant’s Causeway, N Ireland, 19 August 2019


Government by ghosts and goblins

(Sigh…). This is in the front page (!) of the South China Morning Post, Asia’s English language paper of record. “Fortune sticks” drawn from a bamboo holder, at Chinese New Year, to tell our government what to do in the Year of the Rabbit. Crazy. 

Would the New York Times front-page similar superstition? Hmmm…?

Not only front page, this nonsense also features in the editorial -- the main editorial! --  praises the “lucky joy stick” drawn out by a “Feng shui master” as a good guide to this year’s government policies!  And not with a nod and a wink. Quite seriously. Quite depressing. 

Previously we’ve had the promotion of nonsense Traditional Chinese Medicine as Covid cure. The government even sent out care packages to every single resident with packs of TCM. Nonsense and misinformation as formal government health policy. 

States of emergency

Click above for video
We have had a state of emergency here in Hong Kong for three years now. And the government is resistant to dropping it. On the face because of Covid. But also as “good” reason not to allow any public gatherings. Fear of 2019 rioting. 

Freddie Sayers, above right, is always a good interviewer. Talking to philosopher Matt Crawford.

Linking Covid, Climate Change, CRT, etc… all have "states of emergency” declarations in common.

Monday 23 January 2023

12 March 2017 | Mornington Peninsula, AustraliaAnna


Anna, Jane

More… more, ever more… on masking in Hong Kong (sigh)

“Following the science” by masking outdoors. Riiight…
Click above for SCMP Letters
The comments are hammering mask-supporting letter writer Alison Ng:

Ng mentions “several studies” which show masks have “some effects”.  I’ve read many mask studies. For every one showing benefit there’s one showing like or none. And the argument ought to be if the evidence is equivocal, why have mandates? Yet we do have mandates here in Hong Kong the only place in the world still with such strict mandates — masks on indoors and outdoors in all public spaces. 

My conclusion from the studies: masks work in the laboratory; they don’t work in practice. A point I’ve made before and which one commenter makes:
S-Man N.
Sorry Allison, but that letter on masks is wrong on pretty much every account. While there are studies that show (as would be implied by common sense) that masks help prevent the spread on cvoid (to a small extent), these studies where carried in idealized settings where it is assumed everyone wears the mask correctly which in practice is neither realistic nor enforceable esp not in classroom settings and longer lectures. And with the emergence of the higher contagious omicron the protection of masks has been reduced to zero basically, in fact the detrimental effect has overtaken the benefits, as the masks (to some extent) prevent the flow of less contagious viruses and bacteria and thereby disrupt our natural immunity barrier, similar to people living in isolated environments that are more susceptible to disease. On top of that masks are a giant environmental disaster, a typical surgical mask consists of three layers, neither of which is easily degradable. Vaccination and medical treatment remain the only effective tools in combatting Covid, all the rest has mostly done nothing but making our lives miserable. Lastly, before covid there was never a mask mandate in place for the cold, it was a recommendation only, and the best recommendation for that, or related respiratory illnesses is still to simple stay at home. False sense of duty will help spread illnesses at the work place, weather you wear a mask or not. Best. S. Nagl. Asst. Prof. of Chemistry, HKUST

Woke Victimhood is Dangerous | Konstantin Kisin

Click for the video
Agree with Konstantin Kisin here. At the end it’s “people are not going to questions something, when their salary depends on not questioning it”. 

KK in discussion with John Anderson, an ex Deputy PM of Australia; now a regular and thoughtful YouTuber. 

Sunday 22 January 2023

“The cost of China’s zero-child policy” | Unherd

Click above for the article
I noted the other day the decline in China’s population. The first time since the disastrous Great Leap Forward in 1961. World-shaking consequences. 

You can have too many people. You can also have too few.

As Paul Moreland says:

China is the world’s great population behemoth: what happens to the nation’s demography has significant ramifications for the rest of the world. As Charles Goodhart and Manoj Pradhan pointed out in their book, The Great Demographic Reversal, the tremendous flow of subsistence peasants into the factories of China’s coastal plain not only fuelled the country’s stratospheric economic growth but also provided the developed world with a vast pool of cheap labour. Manufacturing transitioned out of Europe and North America to the PRC, where there was an endless supply of cheap labour. Now this era has ended. As this vast labour reservoir dries up, expect to pay more for everything from toys to tablets.

Club Siena 19 November 2022


Our beautiful pool, 200 metres from our front door

The Deep State US: does it exist?

Click above for the video
I’m liking Jimmy Dore, more and more. He’s a man of the left, but hates some of the nonsense of the far left. Like the issue here, about James Risen — a Pulitzer Prize winner — non-reporting on the Deep State.

There’s heaps I don’t agree with Jimmy about, including some of the military-industrial complex stuff; though I could be persuaded. But you don’t need to agree with every single thing someone says to still listen to them. 

Saturday 21 January 2023

$US 75 Billion to make Lantau islands outside our front door

The idea is to join up these islands with reclamation, build
masses of apartment blocks and join up to Lantau by bridge 
We live up there on the top left of the photo, in Discovery Bay
This is still on the table, despite projected Hong Kong population declines — 210,000 apartments. About, what, a million people? Discovery Bay, where we live, is on Lantau Island. In other words, we live right by where all this is set to happen in the next decade or so. Hmm…

A HK$580 billion (US$74 billion) plan to create three artificial islands off Lantau despite a population decline was on Friday defended by Hong Kong’s planning authority on the grounds a land bank had to be created to avoid the problem of supply shortages in the future. More…

This is how they see the above islands in a decade or so. “Lantau Tomorrow” they call it:

Lantau at top, and Discovery Bay at top left

WEF against free speech

Famously, what's considered “hate speech” in some countries is not actually criminalized in the United States - in stark contrast to the rules in force across Europe.

But that won't be the case for long, if one is to believe EU Commissioner for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová's bold prediction voiced during a World Economic Forum (WEF) event in Davos this week.

With a chuckle, and addressing a Democratic congressman also participating in a panel hosted by none other than Brian Stelter, formerly of CNN, Jourová spoke about "illegal hate speech," adding, as a side note, that this is something "which you will have soon, also in the US."

Not if the First Amendment has anything to say about it.

Friday 20 January 2023

Masks in Hong Kong | SCMP editorialists keep up the pressure

My comment at today's editorial:

SCMP EDITORS: "Exemplary compliance with the mask rule, and hand sanitation, have not only played an incalculable part in the fight against Covid-19,…".

Dear Editors. Please show me one piece of evidence -- just one -- for this statement. I won't hold my breath!

(The "hand sanitation" comment is particularly troubling. It was stressed at the *beginning of the pandemic*, when we thought Covid was transmitted by droplets. We now know -- though SCMP editors apparently don't -- that it's transmitted by aerosols).

Comments at the article site are uniformly against the editorial. 

Thursday 19 January 2023

"Solar power needs a bigger push” | My comments on...



As we have solar panels on our rooftop here in Discovery Bay, I’d like to comment on "Solar power needs a bigger push” (19 January). [Which quotes the many more houses in Australia that have Rooftop Solar]

First: CLP pays us for the solar electricity we feed into its grid (the “Feed-in-Tariff”), currently over five times what we pay CLP for the electricity we consume. That is, there is a subsidy paid by the taxpayers.* Clearly there is nothing “free” in solar, least of all to the HK taxpayer. Yet a subsidy must remain to make it viable for consumers to install PV panels. [ADDED: if no subsidy, I calculate a rooftop solar array in HK will not break-even until 2055. Not viable].

Second: Hong Kong is a vertical city, whereas Australia is a largely horizontal one. We have many more high-rise buildings than Australia. That means fewer rooftops per capita on which to put solar panels.

Therefore solar power at scale has to be on our “brownfield” sites. These are nowhere near enough to lead us to “net zero”.

The fundamental problem with solar — apart from night and day — is that it is “energy-dilute”. Nuclear power, by contrast, is very “energy-dense”. Thus California’s Ivanpah solar farm needs 450 times more land than the nearby Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant to generate the same amount of electricity. We get 25% of our electricity from the Daya Bay Nuclear Power station. Imagine land 450 times greater in area, for the equivalent solar electricity!

So why do we so rarely discuss nuclear power for Hong Kong?  

There are four nuclear stations in Guangdong from which we could take power. We haven’t done so because of objections of groups like Greenpeace.

Their objections are outdated and plain wrong. All the data show that nuclear power is the cleanest, the safest and also among the cheapest forms of power. Yet here we are still frittering around with solar, an unlikely “net zero” saviour. 

Why is not a single green group in Hong Kong pressing for the increased use of nuclear power?

They worry about a “climate emergency” but deny nuclear power — like being worried about Covid but being anti-vaxxers. 

I call on all of us concerned with climate change in Hong Kong to learn the science. To call for acceptance of more nuclear power in Hong Kong. It’s time to stand up to Greenpeace.

For the sake of our climate and our children.


 *The subsidy varies, from ten times to around two times that price of electricity, depending on many factors)

Two Views on the “Sixth Extinction”

The Two views:

These are opposite takes, drawing on some of the same data; but conclusions diametrically opposite. One view is more correct than the other. By definition: because they can’t both be true. 

But which one is more correct? I know my views. You do yours.

A highlight from Shellenberger, a map of how Europe has re-forested in the last century. Because increased agricultural yields have allowed land to be given back to “rewilding”. IOW, increased yields are a key to providing more habitat for endangered species. And increased yields are achieved by modern farming methods, not by reverting to traditional or organic farming.

I also have a question about Paul Ehrlich, quoted in the Shellenberger article. Why is the man who has been so wrong, so often, so dramatically, so profoundly, so catastrophically, over fifty years, still on shows like “60 Minutes”? I don’t get it. He has precisely zero credibility. 

ADDED: Our World in Data on countries which have reversed de-forestation (ie. “re-forested”). Note China and India in there: 

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Discovery Bay 30 November 2021

Madagascar Periwinkles, DB School, Tiger Head Mt, Discovery Bay

China’s population fell in 2022 | First time since 1961

Births in China dropped 10% in 2022, to 9.56 million
Surely major news. The fall in 1961 was because of widespread famine, caused by Mao Tse-tung’s disastrous Great Leap Forward policy. Today the fall is structural. And long-term. A historic year that marks the beginning of a long decline in population, maybe irreversible. With China about to get old before it gets rich. 

Observers like Peter Zeihan have been predicting this for some time, and indeed claim that the fall is much greater. China, he says, has been reporting a population 100 million higher than it actually is. Though how he knows this is not clear to me. Due to this decline, says Zeihan, China now has an inverted population pyramid, so not enough young to produce what’s needed by the older nor enough to support the eldest. He gives the Chinese regime ten years or less. This may be analysis by wishful thinking, as China has consistently confounded cynics. As a certain man would say “we’ll see”.

Tuesday 17 January 2023

“Coronavirus: Pfizer-BioNTech latest vaccine could be linked to stroke, US finds” | SCMP

In the interests of covering all sides, a report in today’s South China Morning Post:

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that a CDC vaccine database had uncovered a possible safety issue in which people 65 and older were more likely to have an ischemic stroke 21 days after receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech bivalent shot, compared with days 22-44.

An ischemic stroke, also known as brain ischemia, is caused by blockages in arteries that carry blood to the brain.

A monitoring system flagged that US drug maker Pfizer and German partner BioNTech’s updated Covid-19 shot could be linked to a type of brain stroke in older adults, according to preliminary data analysed by US health authorities.

“End Hong Kong’s global embarrassment by dropping mask mandate once and for all” | Mike Rowse

Hong Kong’s mask mandate is an international embarrassment and should be scrapped immediately. A recent trip to the United Kingdom revealed in glaring detail just how nonsensical the present arrangements are and how they are undermining our prospects for economic recovery.


Hong Kong is the only city in the world with mask mandates for both indoors and outdoors. 

ADDED: An interesting wrap up of mask efficacy.

Monday 16 January 2023

German Greens put “consistency” ahead of the planet

German Greens turning off its energy future 
Greta Thunberg is in Germany protesting (isn’t she always?) against the reopening of a German coal mine. We are told the mine s to reopen because… Russian gas, no more. But Russian gas no more only impacts like it does because German nuclear no more. And German nuclear no more because of German Greens who mutated out of German anti nuclear people.

And we read that they will not change their minds, no matter the science, because they want to “remain consistent”. Imagine, that they consider not any science. But consider only … their face. Like Chinese, really. But also shocking. Because the consequences are so great. 

Sunday 15 January 2023

Then and Now | 2002 to 2023

Cory Sievert and Jing, 2002. Cory and his wife Brie
designed and planted our garden.

8 January 2023

Not The Good News Section | “National Security Boss to head liaison office”

Note the gobbledygook. Commie-speak. Which our very own John Lee is learning like a good servant from Zheng Yanxiong. It’s like — as if — in the days of the Governor, there was another boss here, representing the ruling party. It’s like on the mainland where every factory manager is shadowed and one-upped by the Party Secretary. 

At least they mention “One Country Two Systems” and “Hong Kong people running Hong Kong”. 

Saturday 14 January 2023

“View to a chill” | In the law…. “Top official urges legal changes for city”

Anything that damages HK Common Law system is bad for our city. Xia Baolong is a Beijing apparatchik, so just what we’d expect from him. And from acolyte Tam Yiu-chung, Beijing roadie. And from Beijing which has no clue what makes Hong Kong what it’s been. Sad…

I preferred it when Xi Jinping said nice things about One Country Two Systems.

Friday 13 January 2023

Ha, ha, hypocrisy | A local committee goes all silly on masks

Also: Ha, ha, silly. And: Ha, ha, “this ain’t the science”. 

I’m asked to join a local management committee. I don’t really want to, but agree. Then realise that I may have to wear a mask to meetings. I ask about it. They say, yes, it’s the law. I say: in that case, thank you for the offer, but I sadly decline. (I’m fully well-read on the science and the “science” of mask wearing. My objections are not in ignorance of that). 

The committee thinks about it and gets back to me today: I can attend without mask if I have a vaccine. Do I have a vaccine? Yes, I say. Fine, they say, welcome to attend. 

So: the committee are willing to let me break the law. If you don’t wear a mask anywhere indoors or outdoors in today’s Hong Kong it’s a $US900 fine. The strictest mask mandates in the world.  The committee are willing for me to break the law, if I can provide them with proof of a vaccine -- which was never effective against transmission and is now, fourteen months since my last booster, no longer effective, either against transmission or for my severity of infection. But still.... Do I have a vaccine? Yes, I do.

That, I submit, is crazy hypocrisy, from people who are smart, yet who are happier to pretend and turn a blind eye, than they are to resist the mandates, openly and call them out for being silly, at this stage of the pandemic. Shame on them. 

Reminds me of what I’ve seen countless times here in DB: people come in from outside, masked up, into the coffee shop, take off their masks. Then leave, and don their masks before going outside, where fresh easterly winds are blowing. There is zero, nil, nada, science behind that activity. Save that it’s according to the law. And everyone -- except me of course! -- follows. Mass Psychosis. 

Norfolk Island Pines | Fog

From my lounge chair. Foreground: Banyans, Palms, Cedars. Back: Norfolk Island  Pines

I’ve watched, with binoculars, crested bulbuls on the very top of the Norfolk Island Pines, there in the fog.