When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, August 06, 2022

Links - 6th August 2022 (2)

Neighbourhood shocked that Toronto's new subway may run right under their houses - "Residents of a Toronto neighbourhood say they've been blindsided by Metrolinx's plans to build a new subway system beneath their homes.   The Yonge North Subway Extension will extend Line 1 of the TTC eight kilometres from Finch up to Richmond Hill... the latest proposal, dubbed Option 3, has enraged homeowners in Royal Orchard, an affluent community on the edge of Markham and Thornhill...   According to a Metrolinx press release, Option 3 would be cheaper and built faster than other options by minimizing excavations, in turn "reducing inconveniences to neighbouring communities."   But the Royal Orchard community is up in arms. So far, more than 1,100 people have signed a petition started by Markham councillor Keith Irish to stop Option 3 from happening.  The Stop Option 3 Committee and the Royal Orchard Ratepayers Assocation has already raised over $13,000 for media campaigns, lobbying and legal fees.   There's also a rally planned for May 15 along Yonge Street to raise awareness about the extension.   "It felt like a bomb was dropped on our head," says Janice Cardinale, a spokeperson for the residents' committee.  "I feel like they’ve invaded our human rights. They had a responsibility to talk to us about it."... Fears about noise, the potential demolition of homes to make way for the subway, and a construction process that is estimated to take seven years at least, has exacerbated concerns about living in the neighbourhood, with fingers pointed at how LRT construction has impacted the livelihoods of residents and businesses along Eglinton.   But they're most concerned about the tunneling... According to Metrolinx, they have no intention to move forward with Option 3 without making sure residents aren't affected by noise and vibrations when the extension is up and running.   Reinforced concrete tunnels will be at least 14 metres below the surface of the Royal Orchard community, Metrolinx spokeperson Scott Money tells blogTO.   "That’s deeper than many sections of existing subway lines in Toronto and deep enough to avoid any direct impacts to homes above, during and after construction""
People demand lots of public transit to service areas which they insist be kept low density - but don't want subways to run under their houses, object to construction and will complain about delays and high costs caused by their protests

Railroaded: Metrolinx plans for Ontario Line trigger mistrust - "Jimmie Simpson truly is at the heart of the community. Now, residents fear a proposed transit expansion will ruin it, as existing rail lines on the west side of the park expand with the addition of the Ontario Line, a rapid-transit route being built by the provincial transit agency Metrolinx.   Around six kilometres to the northeast, a very different Toronto community is dealing with similar fears. Thorncliffe Park is a densely populated neighbourhood home to over 30,000 people in just 2.2 square kilometres, most of them in apartment buildings that stretch as high as 42 storeys.   Here, residents say they were blindsided in April, when Metrolinx proposed building a massive maintenance and storage facility to house Ontario Line trains in the heart of their neighbourhood. Spanning around 175,000 square meters, or roughly 24 soccer fields, the yard is set to be located just north of a new Thorncliffe Park station on the Ontario Line — displacing a mosque and 26 local businesses, including Iqbal Halal Foods, the only Islamic grocery store in the area. Toronto is desperate for transit. It’s set to add another half-million people to its population by 2030, but its aging subway line can barely serve its current population of 2.95 million people, who must endure regular delays and last-minute shutdowns during their daily commutes. But, despite the urgency for more active and public transit, Toronto’s track record for getting transit projects completed is abysmal. New research from the University of Toronto shows it can take as long as 50 years to get from planning to opening day, and over the past half-century, the city has seen expansion plans scrapped repeatedly, never opening  at all.   With over 80 per cent of Canadians living in cities, urban environmental solutions like rapid transit play a role in curbing emissions and reaching climate targets. Residents in both Thorncliffe Park and Leslieville-Riverside say they want transit, but as they stare down the Ontario Line, they object to a lack of consultation and straight answers from Metrolinx. They say their public health and community safety concerns have been downplayed and dismissed to the point they no longer trust the provincial agency... In early 2020, Save Jimmie Simpson requested a federal impact assessment of the Ontario Line from Health Canada. In February 2020, the federal department denied the request, citing a lack of jurisdiction. But its response also outlined omissions in Metrolinx’s Environmental Compliance Report for the Ontario Line, a report meant to give a broad scope of the agency’s plans and potential impacts based on regulations.  Health Canada wrote that Metrolinx “does not discuss the potential for human health risks” in a number of areas, including “exposure to diesel particulate matter” during construction, “changes in noise from construction and operation activities”  as well as “the potential for cumulative effects on human health.” It also said the report “includes only a brief summary of the potential project impacts on environmental and socio-economic conditions and proposed mitigation measures.”...   Song filed a complaint with the provincial Ombudsman’s Office, and in February 2021 Metrolinx responded with a letter, saying that studying health impacts was outside of its mandate as a transit agency. It advised that potential air quality, noise and vibration impacts will be part of an eventual environmental assessment, which will likely be released in winter 2022, and that community concern had led to plan adjustments meant to protect the rec centre  Save Jimmie Simpson is fundraising to commission an independent health impact assessment. It’s expected to be released early next month, and the group has raised over $14,000 of its $20,000 goal... Hundreds of neighbours have attended rallies, signed petitions and fundraised for Save Jimmie Simpson’s efforts. One of their worries is losing parts of the park."
Most non-Americans want public transit - as long as it doesn't inconvenience them. They think trains magically go into bags of holding after hours
I'm sure high costs and delays have nothing to do with NIMBYs protesting and environmental regulations

Timelines of Transportation Infrastructure Delivery 2000 to 2018 in Toronto, Canada and London, UK - "The cumulative time before start of construction in Toronto was on average 18.8 (STD 16.2) years and in London, 18.4 (STD 10.7) years. As such, in both cities more than half of the preconstruction time was on average spent in political rather than technical processes... this research highlights the need to expand the conception of timeliness of infrastructure delivery to include the lengthy periods of political debate and planning that can span years and build up community expectations about the imminence of a project, even before it has received technical assessment or approval."
Why the West can't build infrastructure: NIMBYs are the top problem with democracy

Jane Espenson on Twitter - "I did it! I did it! I built a Pringles ringle! No glue, just physics."

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Twitter - ".@FrancesHaugen is right – we need a dedicated regulatory agency to hold Facebook and other Big Tech companies accountable for how their algorithms push misinformation and how our data is used and misused for their profit. We need a Data Protection Agency."
RIP First Amendment - if pushing "misinformation" is criminalised. Weird how that is "data protection"

Anger in Greece over pedophilia as a disability | The Star - "Greek disability groups expressed anger Monday at a government decision to expand a list of state-recognized disability categories to include pedophiles, exhibitionists and kleptomaniacs.  The National Confederation of Disabled People called the action “incomprehensible,” and said pedophiles are now awarded a higher government disability pay than some people who have received organ transplants.   The Labor Ministry said categories added to the expanded list — that also includes pyromaniacs, compulsive gamblers, fetishists and sadomasochists — were included for purposes of medical assessment and used as a gauge for allocating financial assistance.  But NCDP leader Yiannis Vardakastanis, who is blind, warned the new list could create new difficulties for disabled Greeks who are already facing benefit cuts due to the country’s financial crisis."

Former camera operator for ABC, NBC, and CNN arrested for threatening to kill Matt Gaetz - "A longtime camera operator for ABC, CNN, NBC, and other outlets was arrested last week for threatening to kill Rep Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and his family days after the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. Meanwhile, another man who recently threatened Rep. Gaetz is still on the streets after the Department of Justice blocked the US Capitol Police’s recommendation for arrest... law enforcement arrested Eugene "Gene" Huelsman, 58"

‘How do I unbake a cake?’ The best questions ever asked on Yahoo Answers - "Established in 2005, the platform was a place people could turn to for help with questions that were too embarrassing to ask in real life, like, “How is babby formed? How girl get pragnent?” Or, that were too complex for your everyday Joe, such as, “Is there a spell to become a mermaid that actually works?” Perhaps more importantly, it also sought to provide explanations for the truly unexplainable: “Why is everything at my grandma’s house moist”; “If batman parents are died, Then how was he born”; and “Why do people with baguettes think they’re better than me?”  Even genius Stephen Hawking took to the platform to ask for help with the question “How can the human race survive the next 100 years?” — drawing nearly 16,000 responses within two days... But, like most good things on the internet run by a company, this repository of human intelligence and wisdom is being shuttered for good"

Joel Kotkin: The working classes are a volcano waiting to erupt - "The recent French elections have revealed the comparative irrelevance of many elite concerns, from gender-fluidity and racial injustice to the ever-present “climate catastrophe.” Instead, most voters in France and elsewhere are more concerned about soaring energy, food and housing costs. Many suspect that the cognitive elites, epitomized by President Emmanuel Macron, lack even the ambition to improve their living conditions. The French elections reflect the essential political conflict of our time. On one side, there is a powerful alliance between the corporate oligarchy and the regulatory clerisy. On the other, there are two beleaguered and angry classes — the small-business owners and artisans, and the vast, largely unorganized service class... In the first round of the French elections, a majority voted either for Marine Le Pen and other rightist candidates, or for the old Trotskyist warhorse Jean-Luc Mélenchon and other candidates of the hard left. The establishment parties, like the centre-left Parti Socialiste and the Gaullist Républicains, were left way behind. The ultra-green Parti Socialiste mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, won less than two per cent — a pathetic performance from the onetime ruling party. Intriguingly, voters under 35 went first for Mélenchon and then Le Pen, leaving the technocrat Macron in dismal third place among the young. Macron only won decisively among voters over 60. We may, as Alexis de Tocqueville put it during the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, be “sleeping on a volcano.” A still inchoate rebellion from below against the concentration of wealth and power above seems to be gathering momentum. Across the 36 wealthier countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the richest citizens have taken an ever-greater share of national GDP in recent years as the middle class has become smaller. Heavily in debt, mainly because of high housing costs, the middle class “looks increasingly like a boat in rocky waters,” suggests the OECD.   One key indicator of the declining middle class is rates of home ownership, which are stagnant or plummeting, particularly among the young, in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. In the United States, the chance of middle-class earners moving up to the top rungs of the earnings ladder has dropped by approximately 20 per cent since the early 1980s. Life expectancy in the U.S. has dropped to the lowest levels in a quarter of a century. This growing class division is a global phenomenon. In 1974, the proportion of global corporate income that went to labour was about 64 per cent. It dropped to 59 per cent by 2012. This pattern has applied not only to wealthy markets in the West, but also to labour-rich markets like China, India and Mexico. In 2017, the Pew Research Center found that poll respondents in France, Britain, Spain, Italy and Germany are even more pessimistic about the next generation than those in the United States. Such sentiments are shared in countries like Japan and India, where many new college graduates fail to find decent employment. Well over two thirds of Mumbai youths are pessimistic about their prospects. This erosion of opportunity sets the stage for a potential combustion of class anger, particularly as the pandemic and now Russia’s invasion threaten to make things worse. The unemployment rate reached 32.5 per cent in South Africa during the pandemic years, with almost two thirds of young people with no job in sight. The story is unfortunately similar elsewhere in Africa, with regional powers such as Kenya and Senegal reporting over 40 per cent unemployment. This is a recipe for chaos. Several Latin American, African and Middle Eastern countries have also defaulted on long-term loans and more may follow. Even China seems poised for an outbreak of class warfare. Since 1978, China’s Gini coefficient, a key measurement of income inequality, has tripled. China has gone from being highly egalitarian to becoming more stratified than Mexico, Brazil or Kenya, as well as the United States and virtually all of Europe. China, notes one observer, is now developing “something resembling a permanent caste system.”   China’s class divisions have grown so intense that President Xi Jinping has been forced to respond with a promised drive to spread the wealth and cut the oligarchy down to size. There have even been some strikes and demonstrations and new Marxist study groups have arisen at universities — developments that terrify the current mandarin regime. Chinese Communist Party officials have been put in the awkward position of cracking down on young Marxists at universities, whose working-class advocacy conflicts with the policies of the nominally socialist government. As it was during the Industrial Revolution, today there are key divisions within society — between what economist Thomas Piketty refers to as the “merchant right,” largely in the analogue economy, and the “Brahmin left” of large corporations and investors. In the U.S., this latter group generally backs the Democrats and the environmental and cultural agenda of the progressive left. In contrast, the traditional middle class — comprised of skilled workers, Main Street businesspeople and small property owners — has become the bulwark of the Trumpian Republican party.  Similar patterns can be seen in Australia, Canada and the U.K., as “left” parties have all become dominated by highly educated professionals (though they have also cultivated constituencies of the destitute). This strategy has limits and may not even appeal to the young in the long-term. Biden has already lost his majority among young voters — the same troubled generation that helped elect him. Populist and nationalist parties in Sweden, Hungary, Spain, Poland and Slovakia have done particularly well among younger voters. In fact, many of Europe’s right-wing nationalist parties are led by millennials. These parties appear, generally, on the rise in an inflation-rattled, increasingly pessimistic continent. Voters’ anger can sometimes be expressed in crude, even racist, terms. But it reflects real economic distress, made worse by COVID and now the Russian war, stoking inflation to the highest level in 40 years. In the U.K., where incomes have dropped more than at any time in at least 30 years, “non-essential shops” faced long periods of closure during the pandemic. With the ascendancy of online retailers, many have since closed their doors permanently. In Germany, the self-employed were four times more likely to suffer income losses than their wage-earning counterparts during the pandemic. In the U.S., roughly 110,000 restaurants shut down during the lockdowns, and some 200,000 more businesses overall disappeared compared to the usual erosion. It’s no surprise, then, that barely 16 per cent of small-business owners, according to one recent survey, think the U.S. federal government is performing well for them. Stoking class resentment, the pandemic clearly favoured big companies, which could deploy far greater resources to make the necessary transition to the new reality. Big pharma companies have pulled in lucrative profits with vaccine revenue. CEO compensation reached record levels this year, investment bankers on Wall Street enjoyed record bonuses and the giant tech firms now boast a market capitalization greater than the bloated U.S. federal budget. As millions struggle to fill their tanks and pay their rent, sales of business jets to the rising ranks of billionaires have soared to new heights.   Perhaps even harder hit have been service workers. As lockdowns and remote work pummelled low-income workers over the past year in the U.S., the top 25 per cent of earners suffered negligible job losses while nearly 30 per cent of workers in the bottom quartile lost much of their income. The pandemic, notes one observer, has created uneven inventories and supply chain disruptions and often difficult conditions in warehouses. With fewer workers, the remaining employees sometimes have no work and sometimes have too much. Despite higher wages, inflation has wiped out any gains. Indeed, a recent study from the Economic Policy Institute shows that wage inequities have worsened since the pandemic. Most people these days are working harder and faster — and often with less job security...   The first signs of class unrest are already evident. The beleaguered working and middle classes are taking to the streets, as seen with the Canadian truckers or the gilets jaunes movement in France. There are not a lot of red flags at these demonstrations, which are attended mainly by suburban and exurban independent workers, contractors, artisans and delivery people who work for themselves. These people may have looked to socialists once, but many have now planted themselves firmly on the right...  according to Gallup, barely two per cent of Americans consider climate their key concern, while 35 per cent name economic issues first... In some ways, the progressive classes live in a kind of fantasy world. During the initial inflation surge, the Biden administration’s response was to minimize it as temporary and even as a rich person’s problem — the very opposite of the truth. This is not how it was experienced by working-class families and small businesses. Among intellectual progressives, the instinct has been to urge austerity and restraint. The likes of Vox castigate the average worker for being too mindlessly materialistic. Such attitudes help explain how the Biden administration has proven remarkably adept at driving working-class voters, including many minorities, even further from the Democrats. At the same time, conservative parties are burdened by their addiction to market fundamentalism, a pervasive class hauteur, a refusal to tax the rich and a worship of capital’s prerogatives. They may despise the progressive agenda, but conservatives have to offer more than just bromides about the “beauty” of capitalism, which are no longer persuasive in an era of oligarchic control."
Time to call those who are unhappy with the establishment racists and science deniers, lockdown some more and implement more policies to "fight climate change" that make the poor even poorer

Nearly 400 Years Later, the Fork Remains at the Center of American Dining Controversy - "On June 25, 1633, when governor John Winthrop, a founding father of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, took out a fork, then known as a “split spoon,” at the dinner table, the utensil was dubbed “evil” by the clergy. They said that the only thing worthy of touching “God’s food” was fingers, according to Colonial American History Stories – 1215 – 1664: Forgotten and Famous Historical Events by Paul R. Wonning...  According to Brown University, forks didn’t appear prolifically in archaeological sites until the early 18th century.  When Americans finally started their love affair with the fork, their dining etiquette compared to their international peers became a source of controversy for centuries, whether it’s the way the fork is held, only eating with the fork, or using the “cut-and-switch.“...  During the time it took for Americans to widely start using the fork, dining cutlery was evolving in England. Knives changed to have rounded blade ends, since forks had “assumed the function of the pointed blade,” says Deetz. “However, since most knives were made in England, and the fork appeared later in America, this relationship did not prevail in the New World.”  It’s for this reason, he says, the American standard of switching the fork with the tines pointing up, rather than the European way of having the tines point down, is still prevalent today"

17 Freaking Pictures That Will Leave You Questioning Everything

The Country Lifestyle At Its Finest - "Cities, suburbs, every place to live in has its own charms. However, no place has the same level of ingenuity as rural areas, also known as the country. The level of creativity and number of life hacks available to them is incredibly interesting. It might make you want to live in the country. Or you might just look at some of the things they do and think they’re funny."

St Kitts: Consumer Affairs says viral peanut butter photo is not local - "The St Kitts and Nevis Consumer Affairs Department initiated an investigation into a photo of peanut butter being sold in a styrofoam container and found that the now viral image is not local... The photo was originally posted on May 28 by a Trinidadian man who claimed that his friend first told him about loose peanut butter being sold at a supermarket in Arima some weeks before... Loose peanut butter used to be a frequent sight for many Trinidadians who purchased supplies at markets or neighbourhood shops. The practice soon lost prominence as people started shopping at large chain supermarkets."

New Zealand denies entry to autistic daughter of immigrant couple - "A 12-year-old autistic girl from the Philippines has been barred from moving to New Zealand with her parents under immigration policies that reject people with disability or illness who may present a high cost to the health system.  The rules have been called “discriminatory” and “ableist” by advocates calling for reform. Arianna Alfonzo, 12, has had to remain in the Philippines for the past six years while her father, Allan, works in Christchurch where he has a carpet-laying business. Both he and Arianna’s mother, Gail Alfonzo, have residency status in New Zealand. But Arianna’s applications to come to New Zealand have been denied.  The case, first reported by the New Zealand Herald, is one of hundreds rejected under New Zealand’s rules, which set a $41,000 limit over five years on an immigrant’s cost to the health system. The criteria exclude people with a number of “high-cost” conditions including physical disability, intellectual disability, autistic spectrum disorders, brain injury, multiple sclerosis and cancers. Arianna’s mother, Gail Alfonzo, said the family had spent thousands on specialists and lawyers to try to prove their family unit would not be a burden on New Zealand. She wrote in a public plea for support that her husband “is a hardworking person and trustworthy, he is a good citizen and abides by New Zealand law. We are in our early 40s and we are very sure both of us will contribute [to] the growth and economy of New Zealand.”... The Alfonzo family is not the first high-profile case of prospective immigrants being rejected for their disability. Juliana Carvalho was initially rejected on similar grounds – she has lupus and is paraplegic. Carvalho spent seven years challenging the decision, and said it took an enormous toll... it took six years before Carvahlo was approved for residency."
Interestingly, this shows one downside of universal healthcare
New Zealand has merit-based migration which is already inherently “discriminatory” and “ableist”

The Australian-born children the government wants to deport because they have a disability - "If Kayaan Katyal didn't have a disability, he'd likely be an Australian permanent resident by now. But the six-year-old was born with cerebral palsy.  For that reason alone, Australia wants to deport him.  "The fact that he has an Australian birth certificate but he still doesn't really have any rights in Australia ... that just breaks our heart," his father Varun says... Varun Katyal came to Australia from India 12 years ago to study European cookery, and has been a chef in a restaurant for much of the time since.  Priyanka moved here eight years ago, after they married.  The pair have paid taxes, passed criminal checks and complied with everything asked of them by the Department of Home Affairs.  They were on track to receive permanent residency, and had dreams of opening a restaurant, when Kayaan was born premature at 32 weeks with cerebral palsy.  Under Australia's Migration Act, that can be an automatic fail... The Department of Home Affairs makes it clear Kayaan's disability is the only reason the family cannot stay.  In a rejection letter sent last month, it said it estimated Kayaan would cost taxpayers $1.23 million over 10 years, which "would be likely to result in a significant, undue cost to the Australian community in the areas of health care and/or community services"... The Migration Act is one of the few pieces of legislation in Australia where it's OK to discriminate against people based on their disability."

New Zealand Cites Obesity In Denying Chef's Work Visa - "Chef Albert Buitenhuis has been declared too fat to live in New Zealand, a country with one of the highest obesity rates in the developed world.  Immigration officials recently informed South African Buitenhuis that his work visa would not be renewed because, at 286 pounds, he falls short of what Wellington deems "an acceptable standard of health.""

Too fat for NZ: Mum can't lose weight fast enough for immigration officials - "A woman deemed too fat for New Zealand residency is gutted a country committed to kindness is so brazenly shaming her and penalising her family.  Doctors and medical tests are in agreement: Mondelea Bezuidenhout is in good health, despite weighing 128 kilograms."

Woman denied entry to Australia based on weight - "Now for any you struggling with your weight - take heart. It seems you can be declared too skinny to be an Australian.  That's according to British woman Helen Evans, who says she's been denied permanent residency on the grounds that she's too thin.  Mrs Evans moved from the UK to Brisbane four years ago and married her Australian boyfriend. But since then, she's struggled to pass her medical check to gain permanent residency because immigration officials say that at 37 kilograms, she's just not fat enough to become one of us."

It’s time to ditch Chrome - "Despite a poor reputation for privacy, Google’s Chrome browser continues to dominate. The web browser has around 65 per cent market share and two billion people are regularly using it. Its closest competitor, Apple’s Safari, lags far behind with under 20 per cent market share. That’s a lot of power, even before you consider Chrome’s data collection practices. Is Google too big and powerful, and do you need to ditch Chrome for good? Privacy experts say yes... its market dominance gives it the power to help set new standards across the web. Chrome is one of Google’s most powerful data-gathering tools.  Google is currently under fire from privacy campaigners including rival browser makers and regulators for changes in Chrome that will spell the end of third-party cookies, the trackers that follow you as you browse. Although there are no solid plans for Europe yet, Google is planning to replace cookies with its own ‘privacy preserving’ tracking tech called FLoC, which critics say will give the firm even more power at the expense of its competitors due to the sheer scale of Chrome’s user base. Chrome’s hefty data collection practices are another reason to ditch the browser. According to Apple’s iOS privacy labels, Google’s Chrome app can collect data including your location, search and browsing history, user identifiers and product interaction data for “personalisation” purposes. Google says this gives you the ability to enable features such as the option to save your bookmarks and passwords to your Google Account. But unlike rivals Safari, Microsoft’s Edge and Firefox, Chrome links this data to devices and individuals... “If you’re using Chrome to browse the internet, even in private mode, Google is watching everything you do online, all the time. This allows Google to build up a detailed and sophisticated picture about your personality, interests, vulnerabilities and triggers.” When you sync your Google accounts to Chrome, the data slurping doesn’t stop there. Information from other Google-owned products including its email service Gmail and Google search can be combined to form a scarily accurate picture. Chrome data can be added to your geolocation history from Google Maps, the metadata from your Gmail usage, your social graph – who you interact with, both on and offline – the apps you use on your Android phone, and the products you buy with Google Pay. “That creates a very clear picture of who you are and how you live your life”... As well as gathering information about your online and offline purchases, data from Google Pay can be used “in the same way as data from other Google services,” says Fielding. “This is not just what you buy, but also your location, device contacts and information, and the links those details provide so you can be identified and profiled across multiple datasets.”  Google’s power goes even further than its own browser market share. Competitor browsers such as Microsoft’s Edge are based on the same engine, Chromium. “So under the hood they are still a form of Chrome”... Google’s massive market share has allowed the internet giant to develop web standards such as AMP in Google mobile search, which publishers must use in order to appear at the top of search results. And more recently, Chrome’s FLoC effectively gives Google control over the ad tracking tech that will replace third-party cookies – although this is being developed in the open and with feedback from other developers.  Google’s power allows it to set the direction of the industry, says Wright. “Some of those changes are good, including the move to make HTTPS encryption a default, but others are more self-serving, such as the FLoC proposal.”... "When you are a company that has the majority share of browsers and internet search, you suddenly have a huge amount of power,” says Matthew Gribben, a former GCHQ cybersecurity consultant. “When every web developer and SEO expert in the world needs to pander to these whims, the focus becomes on making sites work well for Google at the expense of everything else.”... “When people’s favourite tools, games and sites only work with Chrome, they are reluctant to switch to an alternative.”  In theory, competition and data protection laws should provide the tools to keep Google from getting out of control, says Fielding. But in practice, “that doesn’t seem to be working for various reasons – including disparities of wealth and power between Google and national regulators”. Fielding adds that Google is also useful to many governments and economies and it is tricky to enforce national laws against a global corporation... If you do decide to ditch Chrome, there are plenty of other feature-rich privacy browser options to consider, including Firefox, Brave and DuckDuckGo, which don’t involve giving Google any of your data."

Fishermen In A Netflix Show About 1MDB Draw Criticism For Saying "Najib Can Steal Money" - "the showrunners interviewed a group of fishermen in a poor neighbourhood in Malaysia.  In an agitated voice, one fisherman says, "Najib used to give us RM300. Now, Mahathir gives us less.""
Of course, this says nothing about corruption in Malaysia

The Rise of Netflix Competitors Has Pushed Consumers Back Toward Piracy - "Back in 2011, Sandvine stated that BitTorrent accounted for 52.01% of upstream traffic on fixed broadband networks in North America. By 2015, BitTorrent’s share of upstream traffic on these networks had dipped to 26.83 percent, largely thanks to the rise in quality, inexpensive streaming alternatives to piracy. But Sandvine notes that trend is now reversing slightly, with BitTorrent’s traffic share once again growing worldwide. That’s especially true in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, where BitTorrent now accounts for 32% of all upstream network traffic... As more and more companies jump into the streaming race, they’re cordoning off “must have” content into a wider and wider array of exclusivity silos. Disney, for example, will soon be pulling most of its fare from Netflix as it launches its own streaming service this year. Studies have shown that nearly every major broadcaster will have launched their own streaming service by 2022. And these companies are increasingly choosing to keep their own content as in-house exclusives in order to drive subscriptions... The problem: consumers only have so much disposable income, and the growing laundry-list of services users now need to subscribe to if they want to watch all of their favorite movies and shows can not only become confusing, but prohibitively expensive. That’s especially true overseas, where geographical viewing restrictions hamper access to popular U.S. content... Keep in mind that BitTorrent usage numbers are likely higher than Sandvine estimates, given the high number of users that hide their BitTorrent traffic behind proxies and VPNs to not only dodge the prying-eyes of their ISPs, but avoid copyright trolls and industry lawsuits. The content industry spent years trying to battle piracy via all manner of heavy handed-tactics and lawsuits, only to realize that offering users inexpensive, quality, legitimate services was the best solution. Many users flocked to these services because they provided a less-expensive, more flexible alternative to traditional cable. Now, if the industry isn’t careful, it could lose a sizeable chunk of this newfound audience back to piracy by making it overly expensive and cumbersome to access the content subscribers are looking for."

Sam Peak on Twitter - "Voter polarization seems to be the major reason why political leaders are insulated from accountability. We don’t want to hold office holders accountable if we see them as players for the team we’re rooting for, and when our personal identity is wrapped up in that team “winning.”"

OBW on Twitter - "Singaporeans complaining about electricity retailers going bust as oil and gas prices increase and blaming the Govt 🙄
1. Didn’t they get to enjoy the lower tariffs before the retailers went bust?
2. Do they honestly expect a business to be able to continue operating when costs consistently exceed income?
3. Shouldn’t the Govt be credited for having the foresight to retain SP as the retailer of last resort if any of the other open market retailers collapse?
4. Shouldn’t we also blame Greta Thunberg and other Uber-woke climate change activists who unrealistically pressured financial institutions to stop financing fossil fuel operations, as a result of which there is now a production undercapacity that cannot meet demand?

mirax on Twitter - "But the evidence points to this - we are the largest parasites. Singapore is the biggest bully in the region. It is the richest, and the most powerful, and has caused immeasurable damage to community life, survival and to the environment in the region."
"Wait, land reclamation makes Singapore the biggest bully in the region?! An area where there were genocides, army coups, quasi-apartheid ethno-supremacism, largescale destruction of rainforests, ongoing actual fucking imperialism in "Irian Jaya". Google that name you silly bint."
Late capitalism means inventing shit to bitch about and virtue signalling by bashing the natural in group. Anyway as we know success means you're evil and Singapore is the most successful in the region

Meme/a> - "Picasso's self-portrait at ages 18, 25, and 90."
"Gonna say it... Picasso did not age well"

Watch: This guy accidentally found a dead body on Google Maps that had been missing FOR 22 YEARS - "Jerry Nyman was futzing around on Google Maps and stumbled across something that looked like a car in the pond."

Google Maps’s Moat
Outdated but still interesting on how Google generates buildings etc on Maps

Tom Elliott on Twitter - ".@JRubinBlogger calls for "rules" that would prohibit media outlets from treating Republicans as "normal""

Pimp Master Broda on Twitter - "Google Play store just gave Minds 24 hours to make tons of changes and self-censor or get pulled from the store. If it isn't obvious yet that big tech platforms are working together to eliminate competition; Wake the fuck up."

Scientists are recreating the smell of 16th-century Europe - "A European street today may smell like coffee, fresh-baked bread and cigarettes. But what did it smell like hundreds of years ago? As part of this three-year-long project called "Odeuropa," the researchers want to find all the old scents of Europe — and even recreate some of this ancient smellscape: from the dry tobacco scents and the earthy medicinal herbs, to the odors of stinky canals. To do this, they will first build artificial intelligence that will be trained to scan historical texts, written in seven different languages, for any descriptions of odors, according to The Guardian. The A.I. will also be trained to detect images of objects in the texts that might be aromatic. The team will then use this information to create an online encyclopedia of smells from Europe's past... The researchers will then work with chemists and perfume makers to recreate past smells and figure out how to display the smells in museums and other historical sites... Foul odors also have history — and our perception of what was pleasant or stinky has changed. For example, body odors only became taboo at the beginning of the 20th century when industrial production made perfume and soap available to lower social classes, Verbeek told Live Science in an email. "Animal manure was glorified by writers around 1900 because it expressed a longing for the countryside but was also a way to express a dismay for the 'odorless' and 'civilized' bourgeoisie"... With current technology, almost every scent can be synthesized, Verbeek said. The more difficult part of the project will be to find descriptions of scents, because people haven't always talked or written about them"

Ex car dealership receptionist wins £23,000 after boss excludes her from pizza order - "A receptionist at a car dealership has won £23,000 after she was excluded from an office pizza order as part of what a tribunal described as a 'campaign of victimisation'.  A hearing ruled that Malgorzata Lewicka was deliberately left out by bosses who did not include her in the informal staff lunch... she was made redundant after the company said that the role she performed had to be full time.  Judge Bartlett ruled that this amounted to sex discrimination because she was a single mother and received less favourable treatment as a part-time worker as a result."

Before Envelopes, People Protected Messages With Letterlocking - "For more than a decade, Dambrogio has been studying “letterlocking,” the various systems of folds, slits, and wax seals that protected written communication before the invention of the mass-produced envelope. To guard her final missive from prying eyes, the queen used a “butterfly lock”—one of hundreds of techniques catalogued by Dambrogio, collaborator Daniel Starza Smith, and their research team in a fast-growing dictionary of letterlocking. Mary was not the only person of note to lock her letters: Fellow practitioners include Galileo, Machiavelli, Marie Antoinette, the Boston philanthropist Isabella Gardner, and the artist Albrecht Dürer. “Everyone was doing it,” notes Smith, a lecturer in the department of English at King’s College London. “It is something that underlies the history of communication for hundreds of years, and it’s kind of mind-blowing.”  To seal a modern-day envelope (on the off chance you’re sealing an envelope at all), it takes a lick or two, at most. Not so for Mary or for Machiavelli. In those days, letters were folded in such a way that they served as their own envelope. Depending on your desired level of security, you might opt for the simple, triangular fold and tuck; if you were particularly ambitious, you might attempt the dagger-trap, a heavily booby-trapped technique disguised as another, less secure, type of lock. The practice of letterlocking in the Western world is roughly bookended by the spread of flexible, foldable paper in the 13th century and the invention of the mass-produced envelope in the 19th century. But it also fits into a 10,000-year history of document security—one that begins with clay tablets in Mesopotamia and extends all the way to today’s passwords and two-step authentication. “We see letterlocking as part of a much broader historical study,” Smith says."

Silly Entry Questions: that's definitely science that a scientist scienced up in a science lab

"that's definitely science that a scientist scienced up in a science lab

What is the difference between a person's sex and gender? (REQUIRED. If you don't want to answer questions, join the public group!)

Give a brief description or example of white privilege. (REQUIRED)

What pseudoscience do you find most ridiculous?"

Very "science"-y. Note that the only question that's relevant to the group is optional (and note the irony of asking that question when they promote unscientific BS).


There's a lot to unpack here:

Group cover photo:
"Science is real. Black lives matter. No human is illegal. Love is love. Women's rights are human rights. Kindness is everything."

Note how only one line is about "science". And as usual the "kindness" crowd are very unkind to those they disagree with. Too bad the cover photo is already transphobic (despite only dating from June 2020).

They claim that "refutation, requests for evidence or citations, and disagreement are all parts of healthy discourse", but of course this doesn't apply to leftbook orthodoxy, which is the gospel truth - they are proudly racist, sexist and cisphobic:

Rule 4: "Don't say stuff that is racist, sexist, ableist, classist, or anti-LGBTQ+

Just don't. Also please note that "reverse-ism" doesn't exist. Prejudice against classes of privileged persons is NOT the same as hate speech regarding those who experience institutional discrimination. Cis white men, I'm looking mostly at you."

I have to say, though, that this is better than most leftbook groups - there's a public version if you don't want to answer the entry questions.

Links - 6th August 2022 (1 - Climate Change)

To Fight Climate Change, Los Angeles Bans Restaurants From Giving Out Unsolicited Ketchup Packets - "The intent of the new ordinance—which also restricts the distribution of other single-use items like napkins and utensils—is to prevent waste and combat climate change...   The new policy also applies to food delivery services like DoorDash and UberEats... It's also an open question of how much this new law will actually reduce people's consumption. It's likely that businesses would be less generous with their ketchup packets even without the law, given reported shortages of that product. The penalties are also minor enough that many businesses could easily afford to not comply  True, there are few victims of this new law, save for those people who forget to ask for dipping sauce and thus must munch on dry, uncovered fries. Yet the pettiness of the law makes it all the more offensive.  Los Angeles has no shortage of problems that policy makers they could be addressing, from housing affordability to homelessness. Instead, they've decided to spend their time mandating a new, pointless ritual that will inconvenience a few and benefit no one."

Andrew Neil is right – on climate change, the BBC is short-changing us - "One of the dismal side-effects of Cop26, the recent climate-change conference in Glasgow, is how it sucked the oxygen out of our national media. For weeks before it started, and throughout its duration, nearly every broadcaster, newspaper and magazine devoted lavish amounts of space to the deliberations of politicians, scientists, diplomats and officials.   The cumulative effect was deadening. This wasn’t because the subject is of no importance or interest, but rather because when the media is in this kind of mood there is no tension, no quarrel, no edge to the debate. The problem, in a nutshell, is that the journalists were all on board with the “line”. The starting point of every interview was the implicit agreement that everything is getting worse and that climate change is an existential threat. Metaphorically – like the preachers’ billboard – the reporters were telling us “The End is Nigh”.  What this meant in practice was that every time you turned on the radio or TV, you heard the same message relentlessly repeated, and that message, as Andrew Neil has complained, seemed to come straight from the Greenpeace press office. Neil’s complaint was aimed squarely at the BBC, but, in truth, none of the other big broadcasters was any better. There were a few hold-outs against the eco doom-mongering: GB News and TalkRadio, among other insurgents, struck a more sceptical note. But in general, our national media gave themselves over to an orgy of apocalyptic hair-shirt environmentalism.   And this is self-defeating and wrong. Self-defeating because, confronted with pretty much the same headline hour by hour, day by day, over a period of weeks, the response of most rational people is to smell a rat – “I’m being sold a message here” – and switch off. And wrong because, despite the weight of the climate-change consensus, there are still important arguments to be had about anthropogenic climate-change, and what we should do about it... our media – and especially the BBC – has entirely abandoned the noble tradition of pugnacious journalistic inquiry here.  This can be traced back to a decision taken in 2006, after the BBC convened a private climate-change seminar in which senior Corporation figures were briefed by leading scientific experts and climate activists. The following year, the BBC Trust stated: “The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus.”... while there’s no need for “equal space”, there’s an absolute requirement, in my view, that some space should be given so that the sceptics can make their case. Otherwise, the result will be what we got from Glasgow: supine, gutless, sycophantic agreement with the official line, which is the antithesis of what robust journalism should be... One of the great hate-figures for climate-change true-believers is the Danish political scientist Bjørn Lomborg, who has developed a sceptical critique of the demands of passionate activists. Lomborg does not deny the reality of climate change, but he picks apart the assumptions of the consensus, and demands that they justify the colossal economic cost of the remedies they advocate: green energy, electric cars and so on. He adds that those who forecast disaster consistently underestimate mankind’s ability to adapt and find new solutions. Yes, he says, global warming will force us to change, but we will because we can: that’s what humans always do.  That optimistic, central insight was glaringly absent from all the pessimistic journalistic outpourings from the BBC and others in Glasgow. And their apocalypse-peddling has consequences. A recent global survey of 10,000 young people by the University of Bath found that 56 per cent think humankind is doomed because of climate change. Is it any wonder, given the diet of bad news they are force-fed? Who can be surprised that all this gloom is causing mental-health problems among young people who sincerely believe climate change will be the end of the world?"

Climate Change Doesn’t Cause All Disasters - WSJ - "Take the recent flooding in Germany and Belgium, which many, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are blaming on climate change. Yet a new study of more than 10,000 rivers around the world shows that most rivers now flood less. What used to be a 50-year flood in the 1970s happens every 152 years today, likely due to urbanization, flood-control measures, and changes in climate.  Some rivers still flood, and reporters flock there, but more scare stories don’t mean more global flooding. The river Ahr, where most of the German flood deaths occurred, had a spectacular flow on July 14, 2021, but it was lower than deadly flows in 1804 and 1910. The real cause of increased fatalities from riverine flooding in Germany and many other places is more people building settlements on flood plains, leaving the water no place to go. Instead of more solar panels and wind turbines to combat climate change, riverside communities need better water management. And foremost, they need a well-functioning warning system so they can evacuate before disaster strikes.  Here, Germany has failed spectacularly... But of course, blaming the deadly floods on climate change instead of taking responsibility for the missed early warnings is convenient for politicians like Ms. Merkel...   Similarly, climate change is often blamed for wildfires in the U.S., but the reason for them is mostly poor forest management like failing to remove flammable undergrowth and allowing houses to be built in fire-prone areas. Despite breathless climate reporting, in 2021 the burned area to date is the fourth-lowest of the past 11 years. The area that burned in 2020 was only 11% of the area that did in the early 1900s. Contrary to climate clichés, annual global burned area has declined since 1900 and continues to fall.  We have data on global deaths from all climate-related weather disasters such as floods, droughts, storms and fire from the International Disaster Database. In the 1920s, these disasters killed almost half a million people on average each year. The current climate narrative would suggest that natural disasters are ever deadlier, but that isn’t true. Over the past century, climate-related deaths have dropped to fewer than 20,000 on average each year, even though the global population has quadrupled since 1920.  And look at 2021, which is now being branded the year of climate catastrophes. Add the deaths from the North American heat dome, from floods in Germany and Belgium, from Indian climate-related catastrophes that you may not have heard about, and from more than 200 other catastrophes. Adjusted to a full year, climate-related weather disasters could cause about 6,000 deaths in 2021. With greater wealth and technological development, we no longer see half a million or even 18,000 lives lost to climate-related weather disasters, but 6,000.   Every death is a tragedy, yet current warming is avoiding many more tragedies.  One of the few well-documented effects of climate change is more heat waves, which have made headlines around the world this summer. But global warming also reduces cold waves, which kill many more people globally than heat waves, according to a new study in the Lancet."

Stop blaming everything on climate change - "Channel 4’s Jon Snow even tried to blame climate change for his train to COP26 getting delayed. Along with many others, Snow’s travel plans were disrupted when a tree fell on to train tracks following strong winds...   Sadly, this unthinking urge to blame any weather-related problem, big or small, on climate change has become all-too common. When Germany and other parts of Europe suffered from dreadful flooding earlier this year, the press was quick to blame climate change. ‘Look at what we have done to the planet!’ was the unequivocal message. We were told that if we did not change our ways, this sort of disaster would become the new normal. But the evidence just doesn’t support this view. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognised as much in its latest report. It found little reliable evidence that floods were becoming more frequent due to human activity. This was also the case for hurricanes, tornadoes and strong winds, as it happens.  Yet when the report was released, extreme flooding became one of the go-to images newspapers used to illustrate our futures under climate change. As Roger Pielke Jr, a professor of climate studies, told spiked at the time, this was ‘flat-out misleading’. Bizarrely, this tendency to blame the climate is not even limited to weather events. Some commentators have tried to link the Syrian civil war to climate change, presenting it as a battle over resources made scarce by global warming. The Biden White House, in its National Strategy on Gender Equity, claims there is a connection between climate change and gender-based violence (though it does not deign to explain how this works). Others are warning that climate change will also lead to a mental-health crisis.   We can’t allow these alarmist and downright absurd claims about the climate to go unchallenged. Blaming climate change for everything that goes wrong has consequences. It allows those who may actually be to blame for delayed trains or disastrous flooding – politicians, policymakers and planners – to escape accountability. And it diverts our attention away from the practical solutions we need to manage society’s problems. A tree falling on a train track is a sign that our infrastructure is not being maintained properly – it is not, as Jon Snow would have it, a sign of an impending apocalypse. How strange that this even needs pointing out." Climate change will indeed lead to a mental health crisis - because of climate change hystericists terrifying the credulous

Eco-anxiety: Young Canadians report climate change impact on their mental health - "One survey in the U.K. showed that half of children between the ages of seven and 11 worry about climate change. Other reports suggest kids are more worried about climate change than their own homework."
The same people who claim religion is child abuse love to torment kids with climate change hysteria

GOLDSTEIN: Higher cost of living the goal of climate change policies | Toronto Sun - "That means the 4.4% hike in our cost of living in September compared to a year ago — the highest inflation rate in 18 years — and the fact we’re now paying 32.8% more for gasoline, 9.1% more for transportation, 4.8% more for housing and 3.9% for food — is just the beginning.  It’s chump change compared to what’s coming.  Increasing the cost of living so that we spend less money buying fewer goods and services created by fossil fuel energy is the goal of climate change policies.  It’s the reason, to cite one of many examples, for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s looming clean fuel standard, in effect a second carbon tax...   Absurdly, the message coming out of the UN climate summit will be that today’s high prices for fossil fuel energy prove we must convert to renewable energy faster, as opposed to the reality of the economic and environmental damage being caused by climate hysteria."

GOLDSTEIN: Big news on climate change — Gambia wins, Canada loses | Toronto Sun - "the most interesting finding in the climate tracker study is that the only country said to have climate policies compatible with achieving the Paris accord goals is Gambia, or, as it is formally known, Republic of The Gambia  But Gambia, a tiny country in West Africa of 2.5 million people, while relatively stable politically, is one of the world’s poorest nations, relying heavily on foreign aid... Now let’s look at the countries whose policies are “almost sufficient” to comply with the Paris accord. Only one is a major industrialized nation — the U.K. The others are Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal and Nigeria.  From this, we can deduce four things.  First, that as a big, cold, northern, sparsely populated country with significant fossil fuel resources, we will never hit Trudeau’s climate targets, or for that matter any target set by any Canadian government, Liberal or Conservative, as has now been the case for more than three decades.  Second, the only countries likely to succeed in meeting their climate targets will not be major industrialized nations but small countries in warmer climates with the help of foreign aid.  Third, despite Trudeau imposing a $40 per tonne carbon tax/price on Canadians this year, rising to $170 per tonne by 2030, preparing a second carbon tax called the clean fuel standard and committing almost $115 billion to climate action, clean growth and a green recovery since 2015, Canada will always be considered a climate laggard.  Fourth, carbon taxes/prices are becoming increasingly divorced from the claim their purpose is to combat climate change and correctly understood as a sin tax for using fossil fuels, raising the cost of almost all goods and services because almost all goods and services are created, grown, manufactured, or delivered using fossil fuel energy."
Quite possibly, the only way to achieve climate change hystericists' goals is to turn every country into Gambia. But if everyone needs foreign aid, no one can give it

Kelly McParland: Why the climate change crusade has failed - "Governments and climate activists have had 30 years since the 1992 UN gathering in Brazil launched the modern climate change crusade. Since then eager leaders at federal, provincial, state and global levels have met regularly, commissioned studies and issued clarion calls for action. They’ve lectured, exhorted, declared, insisted, preached and advocated. Summits have been held, fleets of jets and squadrons of limousines have ferried ministers, presidents, chancellors, princes and billionaires to posh locations where communiques were debated and approved. They’ve spent billions — perhaps trillions — on projects. And to what effect? According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), by 2019 the warming influence of human-produced greenhouse gases had risen by 45 per cent over 1990. So what’s the remedy? Judging by those same leaders (to use the term loosely), even harsher methods are required if we want to stop floods, fires and hurricanes from engulfing the planet. People take a look at this sorry history and find it easy to conclude that while the science may be legitimate, the politicians and activists offer little reason to deserve our trust. The projects they championed obviously didn’t work, probably because they were poorly conceived, badly thought out and rushed into place with an eye on photo ops and self-aggrandizement rather than the potential for success.  California is a good example. There may not be a more woke place on Earth than the largest American state. It votes overwhelmingly for Democrats, hosts a celebrity culture eager to champion anything deemed “progressive” and has the wealth and population to wield real clout. Yet it persists in letting people build homes in dried-out forest areas where fire is a constant danger, and complains about drought while devoting oceans of water to almond farms and vineyards owned by the same celebrities who urge lesser souls to lower their carbon “footprint.” The biggest wildfire in the state’s history wasn’t caused by climate change; forestry officials believe it likely resulted from lightning, arson or “smoking activities.” A massive blaze that destroyed homes and vineyards last year was caused by transmission lines from Pacific Gas and Electric, the state utility, whose network was so decrepit it was forced into bankruptcy... Killing all the cows and sheep, shutting down (or blowing up) pipelines and banning oil production might work, but nobody outside the most demented extremists seriously wants to try. We had a test run with the COVID pandemic, which produced a record drop in emissions thanks to the virtual shuttering of normal life. Lockdowns and border restrictions caused air and land transport to plummet. Millions of jobs were lost, businesses went bankrupt, social problems proliferated. Hands up everyone who wants to do it all again in the name of lower emissions. The environmental advocacy organization ecojustice notes that Canada has missed every government-set emissions target for 30 years. Two thirds of that period we’ve been ruled by Liberal governments seized with eco righteousness...   If the world is burning it’s the fault of blundering politicians and an activist industry that’s addicted to grandstanding and rhetoric. The professions are similar: neither requires previous experience, noteworthy credentials or evidence of skill. In politics you generally have to get elected to something at some point; activism doesn’t even require that. Together they’ve been leading the climate parade in aimless circles for decades, forever exhorting the crowd to join in. You have to wonder why they still suppose people would take them seriously."

Even Greta is dunking on the claims made by climate tzar John Kerry 😂 - "it was particularly funny to see Greta make fun of Kerry's recent claim that 50% of all greenhouse gas reductions will come from "technologies that we don't yet have"... What Kerry is trying to do is appease two different camps: the climate alarmists like Greta and AOC on one hand and normal people who like refrigeration, burgers, and modern technology on the other."

The Environmental Playacting of Today's Youth - "Youth will save the planet, according to the elite narrative about global warming... The cardinal rule when it comes to environmental virtue-signaling is that people give up what they’re willing to give up. Young people are no different. If being environmentally sound required sacrificing anything that a self-described environmental warrior actually valued, the conversation would quickly change to a different topic. One’s own habits are necessary; it’s everyone else’s that need to change.  This always-unreached threshold for environmental sacrifice is particularly notable on the part of celebrity Greens, with their fortress-like SUVs, multiple residences, and massive carbon footprints—whether it’s the cavalcade of yachts and private jets that brought such luminaries as Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Zuckerberg, and Katy Perry to Google’s three-day climate-change summit in Sicily this July; environmental crusaders Prince Harry and Meghan Markle jetting off to Elton John’s French estate; or Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter’s “quick day trip” to Los Angeles from New York just ahead of the CNN climate-change debate. A police caravan drives New York City mayor Bill de Blasio 11 miles from his mayoral mansion in Manhattan to his favorite gym in Brooklyn. “Everyone in their own life has to change their own habits to start protecting the earth,” he has intoned, but taking the subway is not one of those changes appropriate for him... These are the consumers who keep football fields of computer servers buzzing round the clock to support their social media habits. If being green meant turning off one’s phone for 22 hours a day or foregoing the latest smartphone upgrade, the reasons why such sacrifices are not required would spout from every Gen Z-er and millennial’s lips. Students from the University of California, Irvine, constantly run their air-conditioners in the apartment complex where I spend summers, regardless of how cool the temperature outside is. They drive with their windows sealed and the car AC on, no matter how fresh the day (this is the new driving norm for almost everyone now). The meteoric rise of food-delivery apps, producing torrents of plastic and paper waste and a constant circulation of cars and electric bikes, has been fueled by young people’s demand for convenience and instant gratification. Cooking is apparently unthinkable. At best, one buys precut and washed food in the inevitable plastic containers. A daily Starbucks habit is deemed consistent with railing against environmentally destructive corporate greed.   New York’s tap water is among the purest in the world. Yet a young neighbor of mine in New York, like progressives throughout the city, receives towering deliveries of bottled water, entailing huge energy outlays to package and transport, not to mention generating flotillas of discarded plastic. The swim team members in my gym turn on their showers in the locker room, then walk away or do nothing other than chat as water gushes down the drain. Uber drivers in college towns report that students regularly call a car to get to class, rather than walk or ride a bike...   The children’s crusade for gun control is another alleged example of the purity of spirit of the young. But anti-gun youth crusaders are prepared to give up guns because, in almost all cases, they have none. Similarly, student protesters—whom we are supposed to admire for heroically skipping classes to agitate around their latest grievance—place little value on those classes and suffer no consequences for missing them."

Solar Is Cheapest Energy: Renewable Energy vs. Fossil Fuels Cost - "That’s thanks to risk-reducing financial policies around the world, the agency says, and it applies to locations with both the most favorable policies and the easiest access to financing. The report underlines how important these policies are to encouraging development of renewables and other environmentally forward technologies."
With enough subsidies, any type of energy can be the cheapest in the world
Comments: "Sure, if you're only counting how many Wh are produced locally. Never mind that transporting highly dispersed energy is very expensive and the intermittency problem remains unsolved and however it will be solved - if indeed it can be solved at all - will be very expensive as well. Somehow energy prices doubled in Germany while this amazingly cheap energy has increasingly replaced conventional sources."
"Intermittency in solar is mitigated by brute force storage solutions to store excess power generated during times of maximal generation, but the installed capacity of the solar array necessarily needs to be large enough to compensate for the reduced capacity factor of solar in order to generate enough energy to cover the down periods. Depending on tech and location, solar only has a capacity factor of 10-25%." Greens like to look at the installed capacity of "renewable" energy to pretend that it's succeeding. But in reality it's a huge waste since a lot of that capacity is not used due to intermittency. So the fetish for "green" energy ends up wasting even more resources

The unbearable smugness of the Netflix elites - "Don’t Look Up is the least subtle allegory of modern times... ‘This is a film about a comet but REALLY IT IS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE.’ They really do scream, especially Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays the clever, sexy scientist Dr Randall Mindy, who, unlike the dentally challenged rednecks he has the misfortune to call his fellow citizens, knows that the comet is real and that it really will hit the Earth. Poor Mindy is in a constant state of apoplexy at fickle, dim mankind, on one occasion bellowing: ‘YOU ARE ALL GOING TO FUCKING DIE.’ Leo, being a green nut himself, really hams it up, revelling in this mad, morally infantile script that gives free rein to his fire-and-brimstone eco-beliefs. Next time you see The Revenant, you’ll root for the bear. It is hard to describe just how preposterous Don’t Look Up is. Adam McKay’s 145-minute lecture disguised as a movie is on Netflix. (Where else?)... It’s like someone reached into the head of a freshly politicised 16-year-old TikToker and turned the contents into a film. It falls to an Expert (Mindy) and a Cool Person (Dibiasky) to try to prise open the eyes of the ignorant throng. These are the heroes of our age in the eyes of the Netflix elites – people with postgraduate degrees and funny-coloured hair... One good line is when Streep’s president says they should use Dibiasky for media work more often, because she’ll connect with ‘disaffected youth and the mentally ill’... It is sweet relief when they die... For the whole two-and-a-half days, or hours, or whatever, that this film lasts, you can feel the writers Adam McKay and David Sirota jabbing you in the ribs and saying: ‘It’s actually about climate change! Do you see?’ Yes we see! We get it – the comet is climate change, the politicos saying ‘Don’t look up’ are the climate-change deniers, and the scientists saying ‘Holy crap, we’re all going to die’ are the heroic climate-change activists. Blah, blah, blah, as Greta might say. It is of course this element of the film – its distillation of the climate-change issue into a morally reductive comedic fairytale – that has got many critics hot under the collar. They love this nonsense. And it really is nonsense. It is Don’t Look Up’s hammer-like eco-messaging that is the most preposterous thing of all. Its wrongness cannot be overstated. Seriously, what planet do Netflix execs and writers live on if they think scientists who warn about the end of the world risk being persecuted by the political establishment? Both Mindy and Dibiasky are hunted down by the CIA and forced ‘off grid’ for their warnings about End Times. LOL. The CIA is super-green, you muppets. It loves apocalyptic bollocks. Who can forget the New York Times piece from last year that praised the CIA for its ‘environmental sleuthing’, for ‘spy[ing] for planet Earth’? Makes a change from plotting the assassination of disagreeable foreign leaders, I guess. In the real world, far from the Californian bubble inhabited by the Netflix elites, it is scientists who question the idea that climate change will shortly propel us towards the End of Days who are persecuted, No Platformed, shut down. This silly film is the polar opposite of the truth. And then there’s the classism. Classism really isn’t too strong a word for it. Don’t Look Up drips with elitist contempt for the masses. Streep’s Prez whips up the red-cap-wearing idiocracy into a frenzy of comet denialism. When Dibiasky goes to visit her parents shortly before extinction day they tell her they’re hopeful about the business world’s belief that the comet might be safely broken up and mined for minerals. ‘Your dad and I are for the jobs the comet will provide’, her working-class mum says, and the role of the audience at this point is very, very clear – we’re meant to laugh, to mock, to agonise over the existence of such braindead creatures that worry more about their end-of-month wages than they do about the end of the world that bothers the clever heads of rich Californian movie execs. If Streep is an impersonation of Trump, these characters are caricatures of Rust Belt voters who want good, honest jobs in excavation and manufacturing and transport... The slogan of the manipulative Trumpite elites who brainwash the ignorant multitude is literally ‘Don’t look up’. They have it printed on caps and t-shirts. They say ‘Don’t look up’ and the working classes obediently refuse to look up. Which means they don’t see the comet even when it is close by. I’m not making this up. There’s McKay and Sirota digging you in the ribs again: ‘Ordinary people are stupid as shit – do you see?’ Guys, we see. There’s a scene in which one of the working-class robots decides, finally, to look up and, lo, he sees the comet. ‘They lied to us’, he says. God I would love to see the casting notes for this bit-part character. Must be fat. Must look good in a mullet. Must be able to sound dumb as hell. The snobbery of this movie is as unsubtle as its eco-metaphors. You’re beaten across the face with it from beginning to end. It just feels depressing after two-and-a-half years. Or hours. However long this thing is. Don’t Look Up sums up the unbearable smugness of the Netflix elites, of those West and East Coast cultural movers and shakers who see it as their responsibility to ‘raise the awareness’ of the little people. The makers of this movie really have convinced themselves that they are brave soothsayers who risk being collared by the CIA and capitalism itself for their reckless propagation of The Truth, when in reality they themselves are the new corporate elites who exercise an extraordinary amount of influence over public life in the 21st century. These days, it isn’t ‘denialism’ that is the problem – it’s catastrophism, the view of everything, especially climate change, as a calamity that our hubristic species has brought upon itself. That is the elite consensus opinion right now and, not surprisingly, Netflix, the cultural embodiment of the new elites, is riddled with this decadent, indulgent End of Days hysteria. Seriously, I can’t have been the only person who was rooting more for the working-class upstarts chanting ‘Don’t look up’ than I was for DiCaprio’s shrill, self-satisfied prophesier of doom."
Ironically, Don't Look Up tells us that "the science" is manipulated for political purposes

Steve Milloy on Twitter - "So many billionaires in private jets flew to Sun Valley to hear @BillGates rave about climate that the FAA had to stop temporarily shutdown Western air space to other air traffic. No #ClimateHypocrisy here. Move on."

Facebook - "We're told solar and wind future But when wind is not blowing and sun not shining? Batteries! Yet Europe uses 7.5GWh/minute and has 10.2GWh of battery storage: enough for just 1m:21s 2030: 11m:45s After that, we need 100% backup, mostly fossil fuels"

Facebook - "Lots of people commented suggesting we can fix this Yes, we can, but it makes 𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗲𝘄𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲𝘀 𝗰𝗼𝘀𝘁𝗹𝗶𝗲𝗿 because we need to pay for backup Solar costs go up 4-7x, from being some of the cheapest electricity to very expensive"
Renewables are only "cheap" if you don't count the cost of the whole system

Meme - Slow Factory: "Please understand there's no stopping climate change without addressing policing, without addressing capitalism, without addressing white supremacy and ablism and patriarchy. The ways we seek to make the world a better place aren't just interconnected, they're one big fight."
A naked admission that climate change is a trojan horse the left wants to use to ram through all their favourite policies
This coheres with the "What if it's a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?" cartoon

Facebook - "UN routinely warns us that we have just a few years left until catastrophe: In 1990, Tolba, head of UN Environment Programme told the world must fix global warming before 1995 — Otherwise, we'd lose the climate struggle Earth Island Journal; Summer 1991, Vol. 6 Issue 3, p38"

Climate scientists told to 'cover up' the fact that the Earth's temperature hasn't risen for the last 15 years - "Scientists working on the most authoritative study on climate change were urged to cover up the fact that the world’s temperature hasn’t risen for the last 15 years, it is claimed. A leaked copy of a United Nations report, compiled by hundreds of scientists, shows politicians in Belgium, Germany, Hungary and the United States raised concerns about the final draft. Published next week, it is expected to address the fact that 1998 was the hottest year on record and world temperatures have not yet exceeded it, which scientists have so far struggled to explain... Germany called for the references to the slowdown in warming to be deleted, saying looking at a time span of just 10 or 15 years was ‘misleading’ and they should focus on decades or centuries. Hungary worried the report would provide ammunition for deniers of man-made climate change. Belgium objected to using 1998 as a starting year for statistics, as it was exceptionally warm and makes the graph look flat - and suggested using 1999 or 2000 instead to give a more upward-pointing curve. The United States delegation even weighed in, urging the authors of the report to explain away the lack of warming using the ‘leading hypothesis’ among scientists that the lower warming is down to more heat being absorbed by the ocean – which has got hotter. The last IPCC ‘assessment report’ was published in 2007 and has been the subject of huge controversy after it had to correct the embarrassing claim that the Himalayas would melt by 2035. It was then engulfed in the ‘Climategate’ scandal surrounding leaked emails allegedly showing scientists involved in it trying to manipulate their data to make it look more convincing – although several inquiries found no wrongdoing... The report is expected to say the rate of warming between 1998 and 2012 was about half of the average rate since 1951 – and put this down to natural variations such as the El Nino and La Nina ocean cycles and the cooling effects of volcanoes. A German climate scientist - Stefan Rahmstorf, who reviewed the chapter on sea levels - yesterday admitted it was possible the report’s authors were feeling under pressure to address the slowdown in warming due to the ‘public debate’ around the issue. The draft report, which is not new research but a synthesis of all the work being done by scientists around the world, is likely to be highly disputed at the three-day meeting... scientists are under pressure to explain why the warming has not exceeded 1998 levels although the decade 2000-2010 was the hottest on record. Alden Meyer, of the Union of Concerned Scientists based in Washington, said yesterday: ‘I think to not address it would be a problem because then you basically have the denialists saying: ‘Look the IPCC is silent on this issue.’"
Clearly we need to "follow the science" and anyone who doesn't is a "denier"

Facebook - "Clickbait vs truth: 2018 Nature study shows Tuvalu *increased* in size despite sea level rise and 'will persist for habitation over next century'. Cover of Time with UN Secretary-General in water outside Tuvalu 'Our Sinking Planet'... Story talks about all the 'vulnerable nations' like Kiribati and the Marshall Islands. Both have seen *increasing* land area. Indeed, lastest meta-overview shows "no atoll exhibited a decrease in land area over the past decades to century"... How is this possible? Bc small islands are dynamic: storms breaking up surrounding coral, washing up on beach, slightly increasing/rising area. Sea level rise reducing area (& humans both increasing area and destroying it through destabilization)... Maybe, just maybe, Time Magazine ought to tell us, that *actually*, these islands are not disappearing under the sea, and that they will likely 'persist for habitation over next century' But of course, scary alarmism sells better"
Patterns of island change and persistence offer alternate adaptation pathways for atoll nations

Throwing trillions at climate policies is sheer folly - "While it is well-intentioned, Biden’s sprawling plan has few concrete cost points and contains many ideas of varying quality. He proposes to retrofit millions of homes for hundreds of billions of dollars, although the largest US study of 40,000 retrofitted homes shows that costs are twice as high as benefits. Biden also wants to restore the full electric vehicle tax credit, although spending $US7500 for every electric car is one of the costliest ways to cut emissions. The International Energy Agency finds an electric car over its lifetime only emits about 10 tonnes less CO2 than a similar petrol-powered car. On the original US carbon market, the so-called RGGI, this reduction could be achieved for just $US60. Much of the plan simply seems to rebrand other policies, often only tenuously related to climate, such as expanding access to wireless 5G broadband and modernising decrepit schools in low-income neighbourhoods. Some parts of his climate proposal could even increase emissions, such as rebuilding roads and bridges. It is also questionable whether Biden’s plan — and other countries’ vastly ambitious climate plans — can keep their electoral backing. While more than two-thirds of the US population finds that climate is a crisis or major problem, fewer than half are willing to spend even $US24 a year to fight it. Biden’s plan will cost $US3500 per taxpayer every year. And this cost will increase significantly. Biden’s plan doesn’t specify the price for getting US emissions to zero. Only one nation — New Zealand — has been bold enough to request an independent cost estimate of cutting emissions to zero by 2050. They found that the optimistic cost would reduce GDP by a whopping 16 per cent. Translated to the US, this implies a cost of at least $US5 trillion in today’s money. And not just once, but every year. New Zealand found that the necessary petrol tax increase for net-zero would be US90c a litre. For comparison, the French Yellow Vest protests ignited after just a US 4c climate price hike. Spending 16 per cent of GDP to fix part of a 2 per cent problem is a bad deal. Even if all OECD countries cut all their CO2 emissions tomorrow and remained shut down for the rest of the century, the standard UN climate model shows it would reduce temperatures by 2100 by just 0.4C. This is because three-quarters of the expected emissions over the rest of the century come from China, India, Africa and the rest of the non-rich world. They are not about to implement unaffordable trillion-dollar climate investments. Their first goal is to get all of their people out of poverty, which means access to much more reliable and cheap energy, mostly from fossil fuels."

Friday, August 05, 2022

Links - 5th August 2022 (2 - Covid-19)

Diabetes risk rises after COVID, massive study finds
Diabetes linked to flu
Time to shut down society forever because of the flu

COVID-19 protocols can't coexist with regular air travel, Canadian Airport Council says - "International arrivals at Canadian airports are so backed up that people are being kept on planes for over an hour after they land because there isn’t physically enough space to hold the lineups of travellers, says the Canadian Airports Council. The council blames COVID-19 protocols and has called on the federal government to do away with random tests and public health questions at customs to ease the serious delays passengers face when they arrive in Canada.  The extra steps mean it takes four times longer to process people as they arrive than it did before the pandemic, said the council’s interim president Monette Pasher. That was fine when people weren’t travelling, but now it’s become a serious problem...   The situation is particularly bad at Canada’s largest airport, Toronto Pearson International, where passengers on 120 flights were held in their planes Sunday waiting for their turn to get in line for customs. Sometimes the wait is 20 minutes, other times it’s over an hour... Airports are simply not designed for customs to be such a lengthy process, she said, and the space is not available to accommodate people. The airport is also not the right place for COVID-19 tests, she said, especially since tests are rarely required in the community.  “Getting back to regular travel with these health protocols and testing in place, the two can’t coexist without a significant pressure and strain on our system”... “Current health measures in place are based on the advice of public health experts to protect Canadians. We will continue to base our measures and adjustments on their expert advice”...   The requirements are out of step with peer countries, said Conservative transport critic Melissa Lantsman. She said she wants to know why the Canadian government is acting on advice that is different to that of other countries.  “We’re effectively taking the government at their word that they are receiving advice and that they are acting on it, but they haven’t shared any of that with the Canadian public”...   The lengthy delays at the airports send a negative message to travellers and she worries about the impact it will have on Canadian tourism as the industry struggles to get on its feet this season after the pandemic lull. “It tells you to go elsewhere, that we’re not open for business,” she said.  On Monday, several industry groups, including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, pleaded their case for fewer COVID-19 restrictions at the House of Commons transport committee.  “These are costing our economy deeply and are hurting our international reputation as a top destination for tourism, international conferences and sporting events,” Robin Guy, the chamber’s senior director for transportation policy, told the committee."
Covid hystericists and those who politicise covid don't want things to go back to normal

Vaccine mandate for travel under scrutiny as much of the world reopens - "Public health officials have said repeatedly since the Omicron variant hit in late 2021 that the virus was more adept at transmitting between vaccinated people than its predecessors. Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam has said that cabinet should re-evaluate the measure given that vaccines now provide less protection against transmission, and the government says those re-evaluations happen on an ongoing basis.  Vaccine mandates made sense when it came to curbing the spread of earlier COVID-19 variants, but as the virus has evolved, these policies have outworn their purpose, said Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease physician at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.  “(It) doesn’t necessarily keep any benefits to these rules, only causing harm,” said Chagla, an associate professor at McMaster University... emerging evidence suggests that two doses and a booster are less than 15 per cent effective at preventing Omicron infection.  Unvaccinated people have also increasingly acquired some degree of immunity to the virus through infection, Chagla noted, suggesting that they don’t pose a substantially higher risk of spreading the virus than the general population.  A growing number of jurisdictions within Canada and abroad have dropped vaccine requirements for public venues and travel, but the vaccine mandate for federally regulated transportation continues to restrict unvaccinated people’s ability to see their loved ones or pursue professional opportunities... members of Canada’s travel industry say continued restrictions could hamper the sector’s comeback... Canada is among the most cautious countries in the world when it comes to COVID-19 travel rules, and he doesn’t see that changing any time soon... hypervigilance without a clear public health justification could set Canada behind as much of the world welcomes back tourists. Last month, Austria, Belgium and Vietnam joined the growing list of countries that have relaxed border restrictions.  “All of us in the travel business want our customers to be satisfied, and we want as many people on planes as possible,” said Vanderlubbe. “If there’s any risk health-wise, why is Canada is the only country in the world doing this? That’s that’s my question.”"
From June. Follow the politics, not the science - given that vaccine mandates lower vaccine takeup by eroding social solidarity their nakedly political nature is ever more apparent

First COVID booster for kids 5 to 11 authorized by the FDA
Is it child abuse to force kids to get endless ineffective booster shots of vaccine for a disease against which they are hardly vulnerable?

France detects new COVID-19 variant 'IHU', more infectious than Omicron: All we know about it
This was reported in early January but there has been no news since then. So much for that

As COVID-19 rages, more in Singapore go hungry - "After being let go from his part-time job as a waiter last year during the pandemic, Danny Goh hit rock bottom.  For eight months, he struggled to find work to support his wife and four young children. The family survived on instant noodles, bread dipped in coffee, and biscuits, getting by on the goodwill of relatives and church friends. While Goh has found a new commission-based job getting people to sign up for government skills upgrading and training courses, his income fluctuates between 800 Singapore dollars ($594) and 2,800 Singapore dollars ($2,078), which is barely enough for their large family.  He perpetually finds himself cash-strapped.   To save money, the family has started eating only two meals a day – simple dishes like chicken soup with rice or potatoes.   Goh often skips meals or eats once a day so that his children can have a bigger share... In a food paradise and wealthy city-state like Singapore, food insecurity is a phenomenon that exists primarily behind closed doors. But as elsewhere in the world, COVID-19 has hit the disadvantaged the hardest, typically the lowest earners in precarious jobs, who have few safety nets and insufficient wage and labour protections... a second study, which detailed the effect of the pandemic on people renting government-owned flats between July and December 2020, found food insecurity was increasingly prolonged... some families would eat only one meal a day or give their children coffee creamer in hot water because they could not afford formula milk. The report warned the issue could escalate into a serious public health matter, with links to increased mental stress and the development of chronic health conditions.  In 2019, Singapore ranked as the world’s most food-secure nation in the Global Food Security Index.  However, one in 10 Singaporeans experienced food insecurity at least once over 12 months, reported a study by the Singapore Management University’s Lien Centre for Social Innovation. Out of this, two in five experienced food insecurity at least once a month and many of these households did not seek food support, citing embarrassment, being unaware of what was available and the belief that others needed it more than themselves...   Each time the government’s multi-ministry task force handling COVID-19 announces new restrictions, the charity is flooded by requests from people writing in to ask for food...   Under its Feed the City initiative last year, The Food Bank Singapore distributed one million meals. Driven by a belief in giving beneficiaries the “autonomy of choice and dignity”,  it also rolled out more neighbourhood vending machines stocked with anything from frozen bento meals to drinks, snacks and rice. The group says the machines, which the residents access with special cards, reduce the risk of the food going bad when left outside someone’s house in the tropical heat."

Covid vaccine injury claims scheme Australia: First claims paid for adverse reactions - "Ms Eves said the system the government had set up was “very complicated and very hard to navigate, particularly if you’re suffering an adverse health effect”.  “I can understand people are not going to be able to navigate the scheme, it’s not very easy for a layperson to understand and the burden of proof is all on them to gather all the evidence,” she said.  “When you look at the criteria involved in making a claim and the process somebody has got to follow, it’s not an easy one and it’s quite a niche situation that somebody has to be in to be able to make a claim. We’ve had a lot of people inquiring who maybe haven’t had a clinical diagnosis but have some of the symptoms or criteria, and have had a lot of ongoing health issues.”  Rather than setting up an easy-to-access system as a “good faith gesture” to encourage widespread vaccination by saying “we’re going to look after you”, Ms Eves said the government had instead “made it a little bit like the burden of running a civil law medical negligence claim”. “But these people don’t have the benefit of legal experts, they’re relying on medical providers to fill out the forms,” she said.  Ms Eves said she had heard from clients that there was often resistance from doctors to link their symptoms to the vaccine... Some have previously raised concerns that the eligibility requirements for the vaccine claims scheme are too strict, as many adverse reactions can cause disruption to everyday life without rising to the level of overnight hospitalisation."
The low number of claims can then be pointed to as evidence that there's no problems with forcing vaccines on people

What Vermont’s COVID-19 Surge Says About the Virus Now - The Atlantic - "Is Vermont the envy of America no more? The state long hailed for its pandemic response is experiencing one of the most intense COVID-19 surges in the country. Cases are twice as high as they’ve been at any other point. Hospitalizations are up sharply as well, confounding hopes that Vermont’s best-in-the-nation vaccination rate would protect its people from the Delta wave... Vermont is not alone in its struggle; other highly vaccinated states in the Northeast, such as New Hampshire and Maine, have seen similar spikes."
From November 2021
Just like Germany. Imagine that. Of course the easy answer is to blame "complacency", like with Germany

Get used to pandemics: Study sees rising risks - "another COVID-19-like outbreak becomes likely within the next 59 years — a timeframe “much lower than previously expected”...  Researchers stressed the data does not mean humanity will have 59 years to prepare for the next COVID-19. “When a 100-year flood occurs today, one may erroneously presume that one can afford to wait another 100 years before experiencing another such event,” said Gabriel Katul, co-author of the study and the Theodore S. Coile Distinguished Professor of Hydrology and Micrometeorology at Duke. “This impression is false. One can get another 100-year flood the next year.”"
Clearly the world is going to need to lockdown again, which will not reduce deaths, and rack up even more debt for future generations before covid debt has even been repaid

People who choose not to get vaccinated shouldn't have to pay for COVID care in hospital - "Australia’s Medicare system provides universal coverage for medical and public hospital care. It’s not a system just for the poor, or just for the well-behaved. It promotes social solidarity... If the unvaccinated were barred from Medicare, these government failures would magically become a problem for a small number of individuals, and no longer a political failure.   If we exclude the unvaccinated from Medicare’s protection today, tomorrow we might exclude the smoker, the day after the drinker, or the person who did not go out jogging, or has not taken up private health insurance.  Hospital emergency department staff regularly have to care for a drink driver and their victim on the same day. They have an ethical obligation to treat everybody equally. Similarly, as frustrating as it might seem, the health system must still be there for the unvaccinated."
The point of demonising the unvaccinated is to destroy social solidarity by pinpointing scapegoats, so it's a feature, not a bug

Canadian News Articles Depicting Hospital Overcapacity & Influenza Strain Preceding Covid-19 (Jan. 2010 - Jan. 2020)
Clearly Canada like the UK needs annual lockdowns

Pandemic Rules Are Only for the Little People - "The pandemic will eventually pass, but it will leave behind our memories of arrogant authorities who consider themselves above the concerns of the common people. Long after the virus is gone, those memories should stay with us as a vaccine against future trust in agents of the state"

[Singapore] - Tim Ho Wan's promotion only for vaccinated (partially or fully) Singaporeans | Sam's Alfresco Coffee

Third Circuit court rules against teacher fired for blog posts bashing students - "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that high school English teacher Natalie Munroe’s blog posts, which contained profane rants calling students “lazy,” “frightfully dim” and “rat-like,” constituted matters of public concern according to the Pickering test, a legal balancing test of free speech rights for public employees based on Pickering v. Board of Education (1968).  But the school district’s interests trumped those of Munroe, whose inflammatory comments created disruption...   “The First Amendment does not require a school district to continue to employ a teacher who expresses the kind of hostility and disgust against her students that Munroe did on her blog and then publicly defends such comments to the media”"
Professor who called students ‘vectors of diseases’ sues to be reinstated - "A Michigan professor who mocked COVID-19 policies at Ferris State University is suing to get reinstated after the college suspended him for profanity-laced comments and calling students “vectors of diseases” in a viral YouTube video.  Barry Mehler, a 74-year-old history professor at Ferris State, on Tuesday filed to be immediately reinstated...   “I’m old enough to be your grandpa, and you people are vectors of diseases,” Mehler said in the video. “When I look out at a classroom filled with 50 students, I see 50 selfish kids who don’t give a shit whether grandpa lives or dies. And if you won’t expose your grandpa to a possible infection with COVID, then stay the f— away from me. If you don’t give a shit about whether grandpa lives or dies, then by all means come to class.”"
So much for a "safe environment". Demonising those who liberals hate is ok

The Metrics for Easing COVID Restrictions Don’t Exist - The Atlantic
From October 2021. When governments want power, they are loath to let go

Why didn’t doctors listen to women about the link between Covid vaccines and periods? - "a study in the BMJ revealed that almost 35,000 British women have reported that following their vaccination against Covid, they have experienced more painful and/or irregular periods.  A month later, they were back to normal...   When women first started reporting menstrual cycle irregularities following the vaccine, the lack of data on this issue led doctors to dismiss their concerns... This is not the first time a vaccine has been linked with menstrual cycle irregularities. Dr Male has also noted that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been associated with menstrual cycle changes. Gynaecologist Dr Jen Gunter uncovered research looking into potential menstrual cycle effects from the rubella vaccine in the Seventies and Eighties. In fact as far back as 1913, a doctor was investigating the potential menstrual impact of typhoid vaccines. But despite these historical data points, many doctors and researchers continue to dispute that there is any biologically plausible mechanism by which the vaccines could affect the menstrual cycle. In fact, there are several biologically plausible mechanisms, but we lack the research to prove the point either way.   Part of the rush to dismiss women on the basis of little to no evidence comes – no doubt – from a well-meaning, but ultimately misguided effort to reduce vaccine hesitancy in young women, although if anything will drive hesitancy it is surely exactly this kind of medical gaslighting. More broadly, being disbelieved and dismissed by the medical establishment is nothing new for women, who are used to being, for example, prescribed antidepressants when they present to doctors in pain (men who present with similar symptoms are more likely to be prescribed painkillers). Women are simply not considered to be reliable narrators of their own bodies."
Time to retract this paper for "misinformation"!

Older drinkers risk discrimination says charity, after pub refuses to serve man without smartphone - "Older drinkers are at risk of discrimination in pubs because they do not have smartphones to order food and drinks on an app...   David Walters, 78, wrote to The Telegraph after he was refused service at The Angel at Corbridge on Monday.  Staff told him customers were required to use an app to order and submit their contact details to NHS Test and Trace, despite government guidance that allows drinkers to fill in their details on a paper form if they are unable to use the official NHS app."

WATCH: Tucker Carlson SLAMS Justin Trudeau for saying vaccinations 'are not enough to keep us safe' - ""Vaccinations on their own are not enough to keep us safe, we need to engage in the right kind of behaviors. Do things that the conservatives aren’t always good at like wearing masks, keeping distances and obeying public health rules."  The Fox News host pointed out that, "The leader of Canada just explained on television that according to the science, the vaccine doesn't stop COVID", adding, "the shot cannot be simultaneously effective, but not restore peoples' lives to normal; that doesn't make sense?"... Carlson stated that "there is a legitimate public health mystery here at the very heart of the most aggressive vaccination campaign in the history of the country."  He decried journalists' lack of coverage on the issue; "Isn't that their job?""
If you never want life to get back to normal so you can get more power, it makes sense to undermine the vaccines
Vaxholes don't believe the vaccines work

Americans return to workforce faster in states that are ending pandemic unemployment benefits - "Missouri, which had placed fewer pandemic restrictions on activities across the state, saw a less-severe downturn during the pandemic compared to the rest of the country"

tyrgoossens on Twitter - "If someone had told me in the 90's that Right Said Fred would be standing up for freedom and Rage Against The Machine would be shilling for the status quo I would have thought they were insane. But here we are. 😆"

Pfizer warns of ‘constant waves’ of Covid as complacency grows - "Growing complacency about Covid-19 and politicisation of the pandemic response will cost lives as the world is hit by new waves of the virus in the coming months, Pfizer’s chief executive has warned.  Albert Bourla said people were growing “tired” of the measures introduced to slow the spread of the virus, while “politicians want to claim victory”. Compliance with authorities’ requests for people to get booster shots would fall even among those who are already vaccinated, he predicted.  This, combined with waning immunity from previous infections and vaccinations, was likely to lead to “constant waves” of Covid variants and deaths"
The pandemic will never end, because that threatens power and profits

'Wuhan pneumonia’: Ontario MPPs urge Chinese-Canadian doctor to remove ‘divisive’ sign - " Two Toronto-based politicians are pressing a Chinese-Canadian doctor to remove a sign on his office door – in Chinese – that refers to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan pneumonia,” complaining the wording could incite anti-Asian hatred. The English part of the sign, which explained Dr. Kester Kong’s office protocol during the pandemic, referred only to COVID... a critic of the Beijing regime suggested the sign affair may have more to do with standing up for China in its bid to evade blame for the pandemic than fighting racism.  Anti-Asian bigotry is a real problem in Canada, but most people of Chinese descent don’t mind references to Wuhan and the virus, said Cheuk Kwan, spokesman for the Toronto Association for Democracy in China. “They don’t see this as a big deal.”  Ke, the member for Don Valley North, seems “over-eager to defend China, rather than being too worried about anti-Asian hate,” he added.  “This is the playbook of Chinese consulates in Canada,” said Kwan. “They are using this anti-Asian hate to rally the troops, (win) the hearts and minds of Chinese Canadians.”... Media, scientists and others referred to SARS-CoV-2 as the Wuhan virus at first"
Clearly an agent of white supremacy
Apparently there're tons of Mandarin speakers who will be incited by a Mandarin sign into committing anti-Asian hate crimes

Thread by @AJKayWriter on Thread Reader App – Thread Reader App - "In March 2020, my just-turned-18-year-old was told not to return to her ultra-liberal, elite, east coast university that she had worked her ass off to get into.  She finished the semester online.  In the fall of 2020, she took personal leave after learning the C19 restrictions which included:
- being socially isolated
- living alone on campus
- masks in and outdoors
- no clubs or in-person events
- online classes
- mandated weekly testing
- take-out meals only, and
- harsh punishment and public shaming—including expulsion—for breaking C19 rules
That’s not what college is about.  College is about learning and growing and exploring and becoming more independent and dating and joining clubs and eating shitty cafeteria food *with* friends and all-nighters and moving forward
So tried desperately to stay optimistic, hoping the hysteria would fade.  She was so lonely.  Come April, she’d decided on a fall return. Restrictions had eased w/ the vaccine rollout & the elderly faculty were now protected.  And then her school mandated vaccines for students... The mandates weren’t bring back normal life, as promised...
 Sometimes the most painful lessons are also the most salient.  She wants to live her principles & surround herself w/ ppl doing the same. And because of that cognitive reframe, she’s *finally* getting back to learning, growing, exploring, becoming more independent, dating, joining clubs, pledging, eating shitty cafeteria food *with* friends, pulling all-nighters & moving forward"
From Jan 2022

AJ Kay on Twitter - "Given colleges with fully vaccinated populations are imposing new restrictions as we speak, why would anyone believe that vaccinating little kids would result in keeping schools open?"
From Sep 2021

pfizer says their covid vaccine works in kids 5 to 11. does it? - "this is clearly a cash cow for them and parents and school boards beset by carefully inculcated night terrors about the risk covid poses to their children and to schools are all desperate for “a solution” that feels like “doing something.”...  medicine is everywhere and always a risk/benefit decision.  there is a reason that you do not take fentanyl to cure a hangover (despite the fact that it would).  that reason is not that you are “anti-medicine.”... the risk to children aged 5-11 from covid in absolutely minuscule. it’s very rare for them to get anything past a mild case that passes quickly and those that do are almost always children with serious comorbidities and risk factors... note that this is lower even than (the incredibly rare) flu deaths count in this demographic... and we’ve certainly lived with flu for a LONG time. kids have lived with it, schools have lived with it, and really, no one was terribly worried... covid is not more dangerous to kids than flu, it’s less so, and no, “long covid” is not some aggressive new thing. it’s no more common than lasting effects from other respiratory illnesses and in many studies, could not be statistically discerned from control group in kids that did not even have covid. 53% of control reported “symptoms.” hardly surprising given the generality of the symptoms and the stress kids are under... it is unlikely to stop cases. it has not in any other age groups. these vaccines appear to be completely non-sterilizing and may be making spread worse especially during the 2 week period of negative vaccine efficacy post administration... so how well will this vaccine reduce risk in kids? the answer seems to be “we have little idea nor any clinical outcomes data whatsoever.”  the data pfizer is currently presenting is all biomarker data. there is nothing in it showing any sort of clinical outcomes. this is, to put it mildly, a very aggressive and possibly dishonest approach...     one of the reasons so many of us (me included) trust vaccines like MMR so much is that they are incredibly safe and effective. they had decades of testing before going into widespread use, they treated truly dangerous diseases, and they did more than just mitigate severity. they stopped spread.  the pfizer vaccine does not. (none of the approved/EUA vaccines seem to) and they pose very high risk for, especially in kids, near zero reward because baseline risk is so low. it’s a fraction of the flu risk no one panicked over for 100 years."

Why the COVID-19 pandemic isn't a bigger factor in the Ontario election campaign - "Del Duca criticized the government's 2020 decisions to allow big box retailers selling non-essential goods to remain open during lockdowns, while shutting small businesses.   "Throughout this pandemic, when Doug Ford as premier had the chance to be on their side, all he dished out were empty words, empty rhetoric, while he continued to be on the side of big box retail and giant corporations," said Del Duca."
Peculiar criticism, given that the Liberals wanted to lock everyone down forver

Meme - "The same people that were screaming "RESIST! the last five years now want us to comply without question"

Meme - "When your phase of the end of the world is over *Fauci*"

Covid-19 Pushes India’s Middle Class Toward Poverty - The New York Times
Clearly they didn't lockdown enough

Jason Clemens: Beware experts bearing consensus - "One of the potential long-term consequences of the COVID pandemic and recession is that experts will be elevated to positions of authority, influence and decision-making not commensurate with their actual knowledge and contrary to the principles of democracy. This is not to say that experts should not play a key role in policy-making. They should. But as advisers to elected officials... when state action is required, the principle of “subsidiarity” should apply: use the level of government able to intervene effectively that is closest to the people, which means favouring local governments over provincial and provincial over federal. Today we’re moving towards the exact opposite, empowering Ottawa to impose one-size-fits-all policies for the entire country. For instance, the federal government may soon introduce national daycare, national pharmacare and massive spending and regulation for green initiatives to fundamentally redesign Canada’s economy. This greater reliance on experts is born from several misunderstandings.  The first is the limit of expert knowledge, particularly during crises. People naturally yearn for certainty and when uncertainty reigns, as it did in much of 2020, they look to experts for answers. Many experts have deep knowledge of their specific areas but no one has complete knowledge. It’s therefore impossible for experts to fully understand all the implications of their recommendations. Indeed, a mainstay of economics is the study of unintended consequences.  Moreover, although experts clearly have more knowledge and information about specific issues, like the rest of us they make mistakes. When they are granted more power and decision-making authority, their mistakes can impose costs on the entirety of society. And, as Queen’s University law professor Bruce Pardy recently explained on this page, actual policy decisions by governments involve weighing trade-offs that are far beyond the scope of expertise of any particular expert. This falsehood, that experts have complete knowledge, is amplified by the worrying role of consensus  — that when a consensus (or even just a majority) forms among experts, it must be correct. This misunderstands the nature of scientific discovery and economic progress.  Many scientific breakthroughs have run contrary to the consensus of their time, in some cases costing the people pursuing them dearly. Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis (1818-1865), a Hungarian physician and scientist, discovered the benefits of hand-washing for doctors in preventing infections and reducing patient mortality. Instead of being celebrated for his discovery, however, Semmelweis was ostracized by his colleagues, who thought his breakthrough blamed them for the death of patients. Semmelweis eventually lost his job and was later institutionalized. Today double-blind testing of scientific propositions makes tragic mistakes like this less likely, but where propositions are complex or for other reasons difficult to test scientifically, as are climate or macroeconomic theories, consensus remains influential. The great 20th century economist Joseph Schumpeter explained the need for open markets and the removal of barriers to entry for entrepreneurs to discover new products and services that challenge existing firms. The same holds true for ideas... An additional emerging issue linked with experts is the lack of differentiation between facts and modelling (i.e., predicting the future). Despite economic, climate and more recently health models being wildly inaccurate and unreliable, they are increasingly relied upon for policy-making as if they were facts... Like everyone else, experts have personal preferences and limited knowledge and make mistakes. In democracies, when collective action is required via the state, it’s imperative that those making the decisions can be held accountable through the democratic process. Giving experts undue authority, even going so far as to cede decision-making to them, not only ignores the decidedly mixed history of expert-made decisions, but also runs contrary to the principles of democracy."

Workplace interventions to reduce the risk of SARS‐CoV‐2 infection outside of healthcare settings - "We are uncertain whether a test‐based attendance policy affects rates of PCR‐postive SARS‐CoV‐2 infection (any infection; symptomatic infection) compared to standard 10‐day self‐isolation amongst school and college staff. Test‐based attendance policy may result in little to no difference in absence rates compared to standard 10‐day self‐isolation."
"2.5 years of pandemic and yet. The utter failure of public health authorities to produce good evidence for NPIs they keep recommending is pretty pathetic."
With moral panics, there is no need to do research. You should just "trust the science" and do what everyone "knows" works. If you question the "consensus", you're a selfish bastard who just wants grandma to die

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