Tuesday 28 February 2023

Nascent Bougainvillea nascent human

Hong Kong to scrap Covid mask rules for both indoors, outdoors from Wednesday after 3 years | SCMP

Three years it’s been! In the end we “scrap Covid mask rules” because neighbour and fellow “Special Administrative Region”, Macau, ditched mandates yesterday.
Most upvoted comments:

Acde T.
Thank you Macau.  HK Government needs entrepreneurial Can-do spirit vs the present total risk averse mindset. Too many armchair experts

Tash F.
My students are 4 y.o., they have grown up wearing masks. We just chanted "NO MORE MASKS!" in my classroom. They will be fine.

White Smoke Emanates From Wuhan Lab Chimney Signaling A New Variant Has Been Named | Babylon Bee

Inspired by the news that “Lab Leak is most likely cause of pandemic”.
China could get more purchase for its stand if it opened up to international, neutral, expert, investigation. But no; we’re just supposed to take thei word for it. And still, 100,000 animal tests later, not a single specimen identities as the transmitter, which doesn’t help their zoonotic origin theory. 

Monday 27 February 2023

Covid’s lost years: Hong Kong children bear the cost of missing school, as more are diagnosed with learning problems | SCMP

Kind of done with the masks issue, but pinning this article from today's South China Morning Post for the record. 
This will make it 56 posts including "masks" as a topic, since my first, on 24 January 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic. I just had a look at it, and it stands up pretty well. Though I see that I wrote SARS CoV-2 was transmitted by droplets not aerosols, which was the understanding at the time, but proved to be the opposite. That's the science. Can change as knowledge changes. 
By the way, correcting typos aside, I haven't changed that post... or any others. I don't go in for “secret-quiet edits" as some do (eg: NYT 1619 project); I've committed to not changing past posts, except when I add to a post, which I'll always make clear by “ADDED”.
Anyhoo… today's bad news for kiddies. We also know in other places they’ve found masking bad for kids. 
Bottom line: masks have an effect, but it’s marginal and has to be weighed against the negatives.
That’s about it. 
Other than referring back to my Letter the other day, to the SCMP, in which I note you can find studies that support you, if you’re pro-mask and studies that support you if you’re anti-mask. That alone says that the evidence is equivocal at best. 

Sunday 26 February 2023

Beyond Impossible “Meat”

From today’s South China Morning Post Magazine

This is exactly how I came to give up Beyond Meat, the “meatless meat”. Also Impossible Meat. I looked at the nutrition label and realised that it was that per serving and compared with real meat, it has: more calories, more salt (5 times the sodium!), more carbs, more fat and more chemicals. Pretty much worse in every way than real meat. 

At about the same time as I learned eating meat is actually just fine. Then there was the whole thing about forests being stripped to grow soy to make fake meats. And I’d thought I was eating green!

Doonesbury Does Dopey… again

I presume the joke is that the Military would have attacked had the Jan 6 mob been Black. But FBI stats show that the police do not randomly attack Black folks; let alone the military, who say “the only colour we see is khaki”. So this is more calumny than satire. But it’s harmful because police tend to pull back when they are relentlessly attacked for imagined brutality to the Black population. 

The narrative, the incorrect narrative, of random widespread uniformed forces attacks on the Black community is harmful to the Black community. 

Saturday 25 February 2023

Hong Kong doing fine

Broadly agree. Though not with the climate change bit.Hong Kong already has the lowest emissions of CO2 per capita in the developed world. And our future must be nuclear, as we don’t have space for commercial Solar and not enough laminar wind for turbines. Our electricity should come from nuclear, as one-third already does. 

The rest though, pretty much spot on and I don’t usually agree with Dodwell!

Who is right wing or left wing these days?

Take the test here

We have a dinner the other night, with a couple we haven’t seen since Covid. Brexit comes up for some reason; when I say that I was in favour, the guy -- let’s call him Alex -- is shocked. He grills me, seeming to suggest that a Brexit vote is the vote of a rube and a racist.... a “right-winger”! 

Before the referendum in June 2016, being Remainer was bipartisan in the UK. Brexit party aside, the politariat, the media, the civil service, the academy, all the bien pensants, were anti-Brexit. It was only after the vote, that it became partisan with the Tories pro and the Labour party against (kind of). That made it all very divisive. Earlier, the Left in the UK had been very much agains the EU. The more left, the more marxist, the more anti-EU. So calling someone today “right wing” for being pro Brexit has to explain how it was that it’s been a thing of the Left until about five minutes ago.

Someone mentioned that China would like a divided Europe. And someone else that the US would too. The latter not true, as the US, via Obama, was very anti-Brexit. Which, By the way, it ironic, given the US did its own Brexit in 1776 -- fought a revolution to separate from Britain. And that no way would it today countenance its Central Bank in Bogota, its Legislature in Mexico City and its court of Justice in Caracas. That’s what a EU for the Americas would involve. 

But mainly it’s that I don’t like the idea that one gets labelled this or that on the basis of one view. Can’t we be heterodox. I have different views on different things. Some liberal some conservative. Overall, there’s my  score with the Political Compass, above, which puts me as a bit libertarian and a bit to the left of centre. That’s pretty much where I think I am, so I feel it’s pretty accurate. It puts me next to Nelson  Mandela!

But the “right wing” thing kept getting fired at me -- Alex was a bit drunk, so there’s that. It was wielded as ad hominem, attacking the man not  the ball. Ad hominem being used when you don’t have an argument. 

Why it bugs me? Why don’t I just accept it? Because the next step from “right wing” is “far-right” and then “nazi” and then anything you say, anything you say you think, is invalid. You’re done. I don’t want to be done. 

Besides, it’s wrong. 

Friday 24 February 2023

Covid: Hong Kong health experts back mask mandate till March 8 amid flu season, but children’s groups lament development delays in young ones | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

The famous science communicator, Carl Sagan, said "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".
For Hong Kong, I say: "extraordinary mandates require extraordinary evidence". By any measure, three years of mandatory mask wearing is extraordinary. But by any measure, the evidence for the mandate is not.
The evidence from various studies supports both mask zealots and mask critics. If you want support for the proposition that masks work, you can find it in the studies; if you want support for the proposition that masks don't work, you can find it in the studies.
This is not "extraordinary evidence". This is, at best, equivocal evidence. And now we are extending mask mandates for the flu??
For those who say that masking is "no big deal", I say, yes, it is. For me — for many — it is. I can't recognise my friends who are masked. We know children suffer from manic masking.  If "the eyes are windows on the soul", the face is the whole house, and I want to see the home.
I note that the hundreds of comments to this article are running massively against further extensions of our ludicrous mask mandates, so I am far from alone. For folks who want to mask, by all means keep doing so. We won't criticise you. Just let the rest of us get on with seeing people's faces again.
End the mask mandates!
Peter F. Etc…

What happened to the Bee Apocalypse?




Thursday 23 February 2023

China calls for UN to investigate ‘deliberate sabotage’ of Nord Stream pipelines | SCMP

Chinese ambassador to U.N. Zhang Jun
Poker: I'll see you one Covid virus origin investigation and raise you one pipeline bombing investigation!
Though Appealing to the UN Security Council will achieve zip because of US veto. But pressure is useful to keep the torch on the US. 
I examined the Motive, Means and Opportunity for the two main suspects the other day:
  • Russia had Means but no Motive or Opportunity. 
  • US had Motive, Means and Opportunity. And a whistleblower 
China has called on the United Nations to investigate the explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines, describing the blasts as a "deliberate act" by state actors.
At a UN Security Council briefing on Tuesday, Chinese ambassador Zhang Jun said China shared the position of many countries in calling for an investigation "to uncover the truth and identify those responsible".

Don Lemon 10 years ago. Then to now: Based to Woke

Anthurium Goat


A careful summary of the evidence on masking.

Click above for video
I don’t know Dr Moran, but I watched this and found it a careful summary of the evidence on masking effectiveness over our Covid pandemic.

Wednesday 22 February 2023

Kowloon, Hong Kong, 15 April 2015

My photo taken from the Discovery Bay-Central Ferry.

International Finance Centre, 108-stories, on the left. There’s a lovely Bar, Ozone, on the top floor.

Three towers of The Gateway, Harbour centre, where I lived for three years, on the right. The white thing sticking out is the Pacific Club, with a great restaurant at the end, and covered air-conditioned tennis courts on the  roof. I was a member when I lived at the Gateway, then called Harbour City. Mornings, I walked along the harbour front to take a ferry to my office over in Wanchai. That was in the 90s. Yummy times. 

The view from Ozone, looking SW to Central and
over The Peak to the South China Sea

A fascinating Whodunnit... more on the Nordstream pipeline blow-ups

Whenever the impossible has been eliminated 
whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
A comment from an Occasional Reader, to my post the other day on  the bombed out Nordstrom pipelines: whodunnit? 

I listened to the link on your blog with the interview of Jeffrey Sachs. Comments as follows:


  • Prof Sachs sounds like a younger version of Chromsky. The US is the source of all evil in the world. And the CIA is the tip of the spear.
  • Sachs does support well the case by the writer alleging that the US was behind the blow up of the pipelines.
  • Sachs ends with the statement that diplomacy must prevail. Don’t we all agree with that. But we also must be realistic here, which the good professor seems to ignore. We are dealing with an imperialistic dictator who, in my estimation, will only stop if 1) he gets what he wants or 2) is removed from power.
  • However, in the end, I am still not convinced that the US did this, and refer you to the interesting podcast by Anders Puck Nielsen that I sent you the link to.


Would like to hear your thoughts.

Let’s have a look at the evidence.



Russia: according to Nielsen to foment a “hybrid war”. He says this is a tactic that is more often resorted to by someone who is losing, not one who is winning, per (1) above. Granted, but speculative. Moreover, it has failed, per Nielsens own assessment (2) above. That’s about the totality of Russias motive, according to Nielsen, as far as I understand. 

The U.S.: according to many observers and as recounted by Hersh in his essay, (3), the motives are clear and powerful. A selection from Hersh: 

President Joseph Biden saw the pipelines as a vehicle for Vladimir Putin to weaponize natural gas for his political and territorial ambitions....

From its earliest days, Nord Stream 1 was seen by Washington and its anti-Russian NATO partners as a threat to western dominance....

... state gas and oil revenues were estimated in some years to amount to as much as 45 percent of Russia’s annual budget.

America’s political fears were real: Putin would now have an additional and much-needed major source of income, and Germany and the rest of Western Europe would become addicted to low-cost natural gas supplied by Russia—while diminishing European reliance on America. In fact, that’s exactly what happened. Many Germans saw Nord Stream 1 as part of the deliverance of former Chancellor Willy Brandt’s famed Ostpolitik theory, which would enable postwar Germany to rehabilitate itself and other European nations destroyed in World War II by, among other initiatives, utilizing cheap Russian gas to fuel a prosperous Western European market and trading economy....

As long as Europe remained dependent on the pipelines for cheap natural gas, Washington was afraid that countries like Germany would be reluctant to supply Ukraine with the money and weapons it needed to defeat Russia.

Asked at a press conference last September about the consequences of the worsening energy crisis in Western Europe, Blinken described the moment as a potentially good one:

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy and thus to take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs. That’s very significant and that offers tremendous strategic opportunity for the years to come, but meanwhile we’re determined to do everything we possibly can to make sure the consequences of all of this are not borne by citizens in our countries or, for that matter, around the world.”

More recently, Victoria Nuland expressed satisfaction at the demise of the newest of the pipelines. Testifying at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in late January she told Senator Ted Cruz, “​Like you, I am, and I think the Administration is, very gratified to know that Nord Stream 2 is now, as you like to say, a hunk of metal at the bottom of the sea.”

Means and Opportunity:

Russia: Nielsen doesn’t go into this, though I guess we can assume Russia has the Means. Did it have the Opportunity, though? Not so clear, given how closely NATO partners follow what the Russian are up to in the Baltic and that the explosions took place in shallow water off an island near both Sweden and Denmark. Without being seen? I class this as unlikely. 

U.S.: The United States had both the Means and the Opportunity. The Means was the US Navy’s Mining corps and the Opportunity was the joint Nato exercises in and around the region, which made it easy to hide their activity. Hersh sets this out in detail in (3), above, and talks about it in (4).


1. President Biden and Victoria Nuland, Under-Secretary of State, both said that the US would close down the Nordstream pipelines if Russia invaded Ukraine. That’s in Hersh (3). Nielsen dismisses this outright, for reasons that I can’t fathom. It’s like dismissing a murder suspects comments “I’m going to kill that dude”, when he later stands over the dead body of said dude. In particular, Biden’s smirk as he says “I promise we will be able to do that [bring an end to the pipeline]” is pretty much probative!

2. The Russians have tried to repair the pipeline, as reported in the New York Times. Why would they do that, if they had just deliberately bombed it? And why does Nielsen say nothing about that?

3. In his second video (2) Nielsen refers to the Hersh Substack essay, but only to say that it’s “not credible”, without explaining why. It’s best not to address it, I guess, when you’ve made a clear case for its being Russia (1), some months before. 

4. The U.S. has made no obvious efforts to find out who it was, if it was not them. They could easily send a submersible to the seabed to collect debris and to test it for the explosive type, which would quickly identify who did it. They had not done that. 

So, on the one hand we have Anders Puck Nielsen, a Danish military strategy teacher, impressive in his videos, but no deep connections inside the US military as far as I can see. And on the other we have Seymore Hersh, of whom the New Yorker magazine, a magazine of the elite left, famed for its reportage, said
Seymour M. Hersh wrote his first piece for The New Yorker in 1971 and has been a regular contributor to the magazine since 1993. His journalism and publishing awards include a Pulitzer Prize, five George Polk Awards, two National Magazine Awards, and more than a dozen other prizes for investigative reporting. As a staff writer, Hersh won a National Magazine Award for Public Interest for his 2003 articles “Lunch with the Chairman,” “Selective Intelligence,” and “The Stovepipe.” In 2004, Hersh exposed the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in a series of pieces in the magazine; in 2005, he again received a National Magazine Award for Public Interest, an Overseas Press Club Award, the National Press Foundation’s Kiplinger Distinguished Contributions to Journalism Award, and his fifth George Polk Award, making him that award’s most honored laureate.

One should not argue a case on the basis of authority, but... it’s hard not to note that one of these has access to the US establishment and the other does not. 

One has given us a few videos, the other has given us a detailed essay, with time, place, method, as well as powerful motive. All from a whistleblower involved in the planning and execution of the plot. We can only dismiss the whistleblower if either (a0 we think Hersh is lying. I don’t find that in the least credible. or (b) if Hersh was lied to. Maybe. But he’s been around the paddock quite a few times. I doubt he would be lied to and believe it. On the other side, what about the denials from the Biden administration? I count those for nothing. Not only have they done that time and again to Hersh’s reporting which has been found to be truthful and accurate; but we have seen in recent months, courtesy the Twitter files, just how much officials and the intelligence community has lied to us. 

And so I amend Sherlock’s famous saying, at top, as: “whenever the improbable has been excluded, whatever remains, however much the government denies it, must be the truth.”

If it’s a vote: I go for the Hersh case. Overall, US: 90%. Russia: 6%. Anyone else: 4%. 

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Hong Kong winter colours

Sweet Gum Woods in Tai Lam Country Park,
in the northwest New Territories of Hong Kong.

I lived years in the centre of Hong Kong before I became aware of the beautiful country parks around us. I’ve now hiked most of them, and done all of the most famous, like the 100km McLehose Trail, the Hong Kong Trail, the Wilson Trail and the Lantau Trail. They are some of the most beautiful in Asia and now the magnet for all sorts of trail racing for folks around the world. At this time of year, with temperatures maxing around 22C they’re perfect walking trails

“Thousand Islands Lake”, Tai Tam

Is China’s tech any good? | Appleyard and Yu

Click above for video
Interesting discussion, Speccie diary editor James Heale with Bryan Appleyard and CindyYu. I don’t know Bryan, but I do know Cindy Whois very well versed on China. 

I’d add to Bryan’s comment that China “only embraced science early in the 20th century” that it has a long and famous history of science, at least in dynasties of yore, as Joseph Needham documented in his magisterial “Science and Civilisation of China”. 

Bryan notes China’s accomplishments in the pure sciences like astronomy.

Monday 20 February 2023

The W.H.O. going for the monster globalist grift

Click above for article. My comments on it below
David Dodwell goes all-in spruiking the WHO’s attempt to corner the global pandemic prevention market.

Without Googling, I'm struggling to think of anything positive that the WHO did during Covid. What I do remember, and this is just from memory, are plenty of negatives:

(1) The WHO were late in declaring a "pandemic", because of Chinese pressure.

(2) The WHO were late in admitting there was human-to-human transmission of Covid, because of Chinese pressure

(3) The WHO did not criticise China for its failure to give early warning of the virus, as they were obliged to do under protocols established (and agreed by China) post-SARS, because of Chinese pressure

(4) The WHO spoke glowingly (early 2020) of the Wuhan lockdowns — which was instrumental in convincing western governments to do the same, lockdowns which have in many cases been harmful. 

(5) The WHO failed to give early advice to close borders to travel from Wuhan/Hubei.

(6) The WHO whitewashed an official investigation to the origins of Covid, agreeing -- under Chinese pressure -- to say a lab leak was "extremely unlikely" (I don't think it is, and neither, I believe, does the majority of expert opinion). The WHO have since said they will abandon the second phase of the investigation into Covid-19 origins. Great. 

(7)The WHO had nothing to do with the development of vaccines. They confined their involvement to berating western governments for “lack of equity” in their distribution.

(8) Along the way, the WHO failed to support the Great Barrington Declaration of “Focussed Protection”, failing even to give a chance for it to be debated. Focussed protection is now agreed to be the better way to handle a pandemic as opposed to global lockdowns. 

(9) I also seem to remember, but I’m not so sure, that the WHO failed to tell us early enough that Covid is aerosol-borne and not spread by fomites (droplets). Handling of each type is dramatically different. 

(10) Masks: the WHO gave conflicting advice. Though, TBF, so did everyone. Then again, you’d expect the WHO to have it right, if anyone would, wouldn’t you? And they could have tried to resolve the issue with RCTs on effectiveness of mask usage IRL, outside the laboratory, but failed to do so.

Meantime the EU — that most close-knit of regional organisations — immediately as Covid struck, reverted to handling of lockdowns, of vaccines, of the whole panoply of Covid responses, medical and NPI, on a national level — not as a unified Europe. If the EU can’t do it, how do we expect the WHO, this failure of an international body, to do it globally? 

Yet the WHO — with David Dodwell dutifully cheering it on — wants us to give it *hundreds of billions* of dollars — perennially! — to pursue an international pandemic *Treaty*?? To develop a “global system” of pandemic handling that experience shows us will crumple at the first encounter with reality? 

Panglossian piffle.

Pull the other one, David!

Yeonmi Park calls out the Wokesters

Click above for video 
If I mention to certain parties that I’m watching something by a North Korean refugee, I get the eye roll. Like, you can’t really trust what these malcontents say. They’re fake. They blame socialism, these refugees, but really that’s not socialism what they do up there. Ignore. 

I’d be one of the few occasional readers of this blog who has actually been to North Korea, several times in the 1980s and 1990s. We knew the stories then. We know them now. They haven’t changed much and they are consistent with each other. The brutal oppression, the lack of any rights, the human trafficking, the multi-generational punishments. Some of which we now do in the west.

Yeonmi Park speaks well and movingly. Most damning of the cowardice of current western culture are her  reflections of study at the Ivy League Columbia University, the deep desire of the woke not to know, not to recognise, not to understand that there are real oppressions out there, rather more serious than using the wrong pronouns. 

Support Yeonmi by buying her book.

Sunday 19 February 2023

It woz Joe & Co, wot done it: from Nord Stream to No Stream

Click above for the video
Beyond a reasonable doubt. It was the US wot blew up the Nordstream gas pipeline. As sure as the nose on my face. And I’m not normally a Jeffrety Sachs fan.... Eg, I don’t believe it was “just trade” for Germany to buy Russian gas. For as start, if they needed gas, they should have fracked their own. Closer to home and better for the environment. But, no, the Greens stopped that, then they put reliance on an unreliable, murderous kleptocrat. But blowing up the pipeline? The US, CIA, under Joe’s approval.

Saturday 18 February 2023

Heh! A rogues gallery for “World Peace”

Is this being blind to how it looks internationally? Or simply not caring? I mean this gaggle of Marxist and Islamist peacenicks. The world these days… so full of irony. 

Of course we want the HQ here in Hong Kong. More jobs for da boyz, innit.

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics… wielded as cudgels by doctors with bothers

Dr David Gorski reminds me of a study that I’d seen a few weeks ago and had meant to write about because I thought it misleading. Gorski uses it to cudgel fellow medics, those who don’t agree with his hyper vax policy, those he calls “not anti vaxxers” but not pro enough for him. And the study gives him ammunition because it shows, he says, that Covid is a “leading cause of death amongst children”. I don’t agree, for reasons I’ll set out.

The above charts are from the study  “Assessment of COVID-19 as the Underlying Cause of Death Among Children and Young People Aged 0 to 19 Years in the US”, link here
My comments:
1. The top chart <1 y includes children that had “certain conditions arising in the perinatal period, P00-P96”, if they had Covid when they died -- from which we note how many diseases this one item includes and the number of which are very serious. These children died “with” a serious disease, rather than “from” Covid alone. Almost all of these had non-Covid illnesses serious enough for death, without Covid. Nevertheless, we know from evidence elsewhere that there were pressures to put Covid on death certificates, pressure easy to give in to because of federal government subsidies to deaths from Covid. 
This inclusion of “with” various diseases, not “from” Covid alone is revealed deep in an appendix of the study, here.
If we remove the double counting, we had a figure of around 0.4 for Covid, below influenza.
2. Dr Gorski says that Covid is the most fatal of the respiratory illnesses for children and young people. However, he does not say — perhaps he hasn’t figured it out — that the top cause on the list above, the perinatal related diseases, include respiratory illnesses. 
3. Gorski allows the lumping together of many diseases under “perinatal conditions” but breaks out the respiratory diseases, to create a separate list with Covid at the top! Manipulative, I’d say.
4. If you do break out the “perinatal diseases”, not only do they include respiratory illnesses, but it means that Covid ends up at the bottom of a much longer list of illnesses causing death amongst CYP. 
5. Given the amount of comorbidities with the CYP in this study, when we strip them out, we end up with death rates of ~ one in a quarter of a million. 
6. Just to note again that the study includes adults of 18-19, whereas Gorski and others quoting the study always talk of “children”, which is misleading. 

Gorski says he tries to convince the hesitant doctors that we used to have childhood deaths from measles, until the vaccine. To which I’d note, as I believe, (1) that the measles vaccine did stop getting the disease, whereas Covid vaccines do not and (2) that measles vaccines last a lifetime (?) while Covid vaccines last 3-6 months. 
Given death rates of healthy children catching Covid is less than 1 in 250,000, whereas likelihood of a side effect is one in 800, it ought to be up to the parents, given this knowledge, to decide for themselves. 

Friday 17 February 2023

“Comedian on Nicola Sturgeon gender woo-woo downfall”

Click above for video
Leo Kearse, funny guy. Nicola Sturgeon, not funny woman. She pushed for a “democratic vote” on independence for Scotland when they’d already had a democratic vote in 2014 and comprehensively rejected it. What with these people, like Remainers, that prattle on about democracy, but just can’t abide the will of the people when it goes against them?

I also don’t get: why lefties hated Brexit but love Scoxit. How does that square?

Leo doesn’t focus on that so much as on her batty push for radical gender bending in Scotland. He tells the story pretty well, I reckon. A story that led to her resignation this week. Good riddance.

Fossils fuel 6,000-plus products

When I think the “energy transition” I tend to think of Renewable Energies (RE), mainly wind and solar replacing coal, oil and gas, to produce electricity. What I usually forget — and I suspect most folks do too — is that virtually everything around us is based on fossil fuel products. It’s not just about electricity.

I took the photo above as is sit in the warm winter sun here in Discovery Bay, HK. A random photo with random stuff. Can I see anything that doesn’t involve a fossil fuel?

What about the wood? Looks like Douglas Fir from Canada. Likely from a plantation. Which involves plastics, herbicides, fungicides, fertilisers, made from fossil fuels. Then there’s lots of machinery to plant, to harvest and to turn logs into lumber. Some of those might be electrified. Maybe. But they’re made of steel and steel needs coking coal. Electric blast furnaces have been around for years but aren’t viable at scale. Coking coal is a must for steel and steel is a must for modern society. Then the lumber has to be shipped to China — more steel, more ships 98% of which are Diesel. They ars not going electric or sail any time soon.

The aluminium tube for the umbrella needs mining by machines — more steel — and shipping — more steel — and fabrication, which uses big lumps of electricity. Electricity, hooray! That can be RE. Yes, but… , but competing with the increasing demands we’re putting on electricity from electric cars and all those lumber-logging electric vehicles we’ll be producing.…

What else? The iPad has heaps made from petroleum products including the plastic bits and the steel bits and the aluminium bits and lots in the electronics, including copper which will be competing for the ever greater needs we’ll have for Cu from electric vehicles and batteries. While copper resources are declining. 

What about the flowers? Well, I’d grant those. Though I suspect, this being Hong Kong, that they use fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides to grow them, chemical, all made from fossil fuels.

This is not to suggest that the move to RE is doomed. But to point out that “Net Zero” is near as damn it impossible, especially the ones set for ten or twenty years. Stretch goals are good. But not impossible ones. 

Mark Mills on the Net Zero dream

“Hong Kong’s population drops for 3rd straight year…”

👋👋 Hong Kong ?
Hong Kong’s population has dropped for a third straight year, with a net outflow of 60,000 residents contributing to a decline of nearly 1 per cent in 2022.

According to official figures released on Thursday, the city’s population dipped 0.9 per cent from the year before to 7,333,200 in 2022, while births plunged to a record low of 32,500. The overall population drop was deeper than the previous year’s 0.3 per cent decrease.

About 62,100 deaths were recorded last year, outweighing births by 29,600. It was the third consecutive year that there were more deaths than births in Hong Kong, after the city recorded its first ever negative natural population growth in 2020. [More…]
I was watching a show on Australia’s ABC last night, a little outback town near Quilty where people had departed, first in a trickle then in a flood, till just one lady was left, making patisseries for herself and her animals. I wondered “why stay, when everyone is leaving?”. And thought if Hong Kong. We’re not Quilty. But still, got to keep it in mind. You don’t want to be the one turning off the lights as you go out the door. 

The optimist on this is that Hong Kong will recover. It’s always recovered. With more from the mainland this time. I’m on that side of it, for now. Not leaving quite yet…

ADDED: Hong Kong’s crude birth rate plunged 63% since 2011. Source. That’s an annual drop of 9.5%.

Thursday 16 February 2023

A Shameful Vote in Virginia | Wall Street Journal

Click above for the embedded video at the link
Virginia De­moc­rats have hit a new low in their bat­tle to keep Gov. Glenn Youngkin from mak­ing good on his prom­ise to give par­ents more say over their chil­dren's ed­u­ca­tion. On Tues­day the De­mo­c­ra­tic Sen­ate voted to re­ject the Gov­ernor's nom­i­nee for the state board of ed­u­ca­tion amid nasty racial insinuations.

Mr. Youngkin's nom­inee is Su­parna Dutta, an In­dia-born woman who confounded the par­ents group at Thomas Jef­ferson High School for Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy. That group ac­cused the high school of aban­doning its merit-based ad­mis­sions stan­dards to re­duce the num­ber of Asian-Amer­i­cans admitted. Ms. Dutta is an en­gi­neer and ad­vo­cate for STEM ed­u­ca­tion. Democrats say she is un­qual­i­fied to serve on the board be­cause she has no back­ground in ed­u­ca­tion. 
What they mean is she dis­sents from progressive ­or­tho­doxy. The vote to kill her nom­i­nation came a week af­ter a heated dis­pute with board mem­ber Anne Holton, Sen. Tim Kaine’s wife. Among Ms. Dut­ta’s “con­tro­ver­sial” re­marks was her crit­i­cism of so­cial­ism and de­fend­ing the De­c­la­ra­tion of In­depen­dence and the Con­stitu­tion. Never mind that Ms. Dutta lived un­der ­socialism in In­dia. More…
I watched the vid of the Dutta-Holton debate. Dutta  knows her stuff and Holton does not. Especially on socialism, as Dutta had lived under socialism in India. Holton knows nothing about it. But Dems supports her because … well, because … socialism Good; and merit-based education Bad. Oh dear.

That’ll work, for sure! …”lighthearted patriotic quiz shows” free-to-air!

Today’s South China Morning Post and the 
bemusing news that we’ll be given free-to-air
“lighthearted patriotic propaganda programming”
My comment at the site: I for one, am looking forward to the weekly "lighthearted patriotic programming with Hong Kong characteristics". I'm sure it'll be very amusing!
Virtually all other commenters are mocking this whole project. And rightly so. Apparatchiks and their dopey dreams. “You will be happy!”
Meanwhile, some are getting their knickers in a twist over Chinese stand-up in Australia being self-deprecating. Online (50-cent army?) they call it being “race traitors”, for goodness sake! We’ve got “assistant professors of cultural studies” at Chinese U of HK (my alma mater) telling us what’s funny, now? Bizarre.
I commented that in the US, stand-up originated with Jewish males, mostly, and blacks, all of whom make merciless fun of their Jewishness, maleness, blackness. China-based critics who yell “race traitor” at the Oz-Chinese stand-up comedians need to grow up. The couple of snippets quoted are pretty funny. All women, by the way.

PS: I am looking forward to the weekly half-hour of “lighthearted patriotic programming” — with HK characteristics 🤔. I’m sure it’ll be pretty funny itself, if only unintentionally!

Solving climate change with livestock… and we get to eat meat!

Click above for video 
The opposite of what Greens are pushing for. And what I always thought was a Bad Thing: hard-hoofed ruminants. But apparently they are needed to mimic large herds of previous native grazing animals. So says Zimbabwean farmer-biologist Alan Savory.

The TED talk above was 10 years ago, so why haven’t we heard more about it? Well because his claim is challenged, as the Notes at the TED talk say. Challenged in terms of “grass-fed” vs grain-fed meat, and I realise I have heard about that debate. But not in terms of grass-fed helping to reverse desertification. Just in terms of “grain-fed is better” (less methane). One begins to wonder, is the grain-fed lobby in there muddying the waters? Whoops! A conspiracy theory!

Wednesday 15 February 2023