Friday: Hili dialogue

October 15, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to the working week’s terminus, October 15, 2021: and it’s appropriate that this Friday is Red Wine Day (you can have white, too).

It’s also National Cheese Curd Day, National Mushroom Day, National Roast Pheasant Day, National Shawarma Day in Canada (cultural appropriation), National Pug Day, National Boss Day, Global Handwashing Day, International Day of Rural Women, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (Canada, the United States, the UK and Italy), White Cane Safety Day, and World Students’ Day.

News of the Day:

*An orchid I’ve had for over five years finally bloomed, so I can see what its flower looks like. Photo below: I have no idea whether this is a hybrid or a naturally-occurring species (the greenhouse gave it to me as a discard). Does anybody know?

*Once again, the conservative Texas Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the U.S. Justice Department, so Texas’s draconian abortion law stays in place. The U.S. had appealed after the appeals court upheld the law temporarily, and that was after a federal judge overturned it.  Here’s the ruling:

From the WaPo:

The high court’s conservative majority said opponents, who had sued state court judges and clerks, raised “serious questions” about the constitutionality of the ban. But the justices allowed the law to remain in effect pending further review, saying the challengers had not shown they were suing the proper defendants.

The 5th Circuit on Thursday said its decision to leave the law in effect was based on the high court’s reasoning and its own previous decision in that case, in which the appeals court said it was not clear that federal courts have a role in reviewing the Texas law.

Yeah. right, and that’s because Texas designed the law to be enforced by vigilantes rather than the state! The law is plainly unconstitutional and surely federal courts have a role in reviewing it.

*The House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection is moving towards holding Steve Bannon in criminal contempt, since he flatly rejected a subpoena to appear before the committee.

Bannon was scheduled for a deposition in front of the committee on Thursday, and Bannon’s lawyer wrote in a letter the day before to the panel saying that his client will not provide testimony or documents until the committee reaches an agreement with former President Donald Trump over executive privilege or a court weighs in on the matter.

“We reject his position entirely,” Thompson continued in his statement. “The Select Committee will not tolerate defiance of our subpoenas, so we must move forward with proceedings to refer Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt.”

The committee is unified in declaring that contempt charges will be issued to anyone refusing to testify.

*I think I’ve written before about the CRT/teaching fracas in Texas. The states has outlawed the teaching of Critical Race Theory beginning in December, a law I oppose. But there’s a related dust-up in the Carroll County school district about which books teachers can allow their students to access, and that’s led to accusations of censorship by teachers and approbation by worried parents. But a school administrator made a very unfortunate misstep, as NBC News reports (my emphasis):

A top administrator with the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake advised teachers last week that if they have a book about the Holocaust in their classroom, they should also offer students access to a book from an “opposing” perspective, according to an audio recording obtained by NBC News.

Gina Peddy, the Carroll school district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, made the comment Friday afternoon during a training session on which books teachers can have in classroom libraries. The training came four days after the Carroll school board, responding to a parent’s complaint, voted to reprimand a fourth grade teacher who had kept an anti-racism book in her classroom.

. . . .A Carroll staff member secretly recorded the Friday training and shared the audio with NBC News.

“Just try to remember the concepts of [House Bill] 3979,” Peddy said in the recording, referring to a new Texas law that requires teachers to present multiple perspectives when discussing “widely debated and currently controversial” issues. “And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust,” Peddy continued, “that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives.”

“How do you oppose the Holocaust?” one teacher said in response.

“Believe me,” Peddy said. “That’s come up.”

Yeah, balance it with Holocaust denialism! You can hear the recording at the NBC link.

*I’ve never been to Beirut, which is supposed to be a lovely city, or anywhere in Lebanon for that matter. But now the relatively peaceful city is seeing violence in the streets as protests break out about the 2020 port explosion, which remains unexplained.

Hundreds of supporters of Iran-backed Hezbollah and its main Shia ally, Amal, were marching toward the Lebanese capital’s Palace of Justice when shots were fired at the protesters by snipers on rooftops, forcing demonstrators and journalists to take cover, according to the country’s interior minister, an army statement and local broadcasters.

The demonstrators were calling for the removal of a popular judge leading an investigation into the massive explosion at Beirut’s port last August, which killed more than 200 people and injured thousands more.

As armed clashes ramped up on Thursday, social media footage showed masked gunmen, apparently affiliated with the protesters, firing RPGs and AK-47s from alleyways and from behind garbage dumps and street barriers.

Six people have died so far in these clashes.

*If you got the series of two Moderna Covid shots, you’ll want to know that an FDA panel has recommended a booster shot of a half-dose of the original shots—but only for people over 60 or “as well as younger adults with other health problems, jobs or living situations that put them at increased risk from COVID-19.” This is an advisory decision, not a final one. The panel also said that there’s no evidence to give Moderna or Pfizer boosters to any other adult, despite the the Biden administration’s plan to do just that. Things look a bit messy, and I haven’t even seen the data used to make these decisions. We don’t know what the FDA will say in its final decision, but if it adheres to the advice of this advisory panel, it will confuse people because the government’s advice would conflict with Biden’s. And that may sow further doubt about the vaccines in the minds of the undecided.

*When will people learn that vegetables DO NOT GO INTO DESSERTS? A new recipe from the NYT (fortunately, you have to pay extra to subscribe to the recipes section to see how to make this travesty):

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 721,766, an increase of 1,818 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,897,984, an increase of about 6,700 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on October 15 includes:

  • 1066 – Following the death of Harold II at the Battle of Hastings, Edgar the Ætheling is proclaimed King of England by the Witan; he is never crowned, and concedes power to William the Conqueror two months later.
  • 1582 – Adoption of the Gregorian calendar begins, eventually leading to near-universal adoption.

Here’s one of the earliest printed Gregorian calendars, dating from 1582 (Pope Gregory XIII decreed the change, dropping 11 days from October, 1582).

  • 1783 – The Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon makes the first human ascent, piloted by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier.
  • 1793 – Queen Marie Antoinette of France is tried and convicted of treason.
  • 1815 – Napoleon begins his exile on Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Here’s Napoleon’s death mask. He died at 51, probably of stomach cancer:

The letter came with a human kidney of unknown provenance. It’s also not clear whether the letter came from Jack the Ripper, whose identity is still unknown. The letter, which was sent to George Lusk, chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilante Committee is below, and the transcription is this:

From hell.

Mr Lusk,
I send you half the Kidne I took from one women prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise. I may send you the bloody knif[e] that took it out if you only wate a whil[e] longer

Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk

  • 1917 – World War I: Dutch dancer Mata Hari is executed by France for espionage.

Her real name was Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod, she was Dutch, and was shot by a firing squad at age 41. Here’s a photo in her exotic-dance costume:

It was first introduced as a birth control pill in 1963, and is still widely prescribed.

Here’s Newton and Seale outside the Black Panther Party headquarters in Oakland, CA. Newton (right) was shot to death in 1989; Seale is still with us.

  • 1989 – Wayne Gretzky becomes the all-time leading points scorer in the NHL.

Here’s Gretzky breaking Gordie Howe’s record. Gretzky wound up scoring 2,857 points in his career.

It’s for real; Wikipedia notes that:

Since the first observation, at least seven similar events (energy 5.7×1019 eV or greater) have been recorded, confirming the phenomenon. These ultra-high-energy cosmic ray particles are very rare; the energy of most cosmic ray particles is between 10 MeV and 10 GeV.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 99 BC (probable) – Lucretius, Roman poet and philosopher (d. 55 BCE)
  • 70 BC – Virgil, Roman poet (d. 19 BC)
  • 1814 – Mikhail Lermontov, Russian author, poet, and painter (d. 1841)

Lermontov, a Russian Romantic poet, died at only 26, shot in a duel. A portrait from 1837:

Sullivan, a bruiser, was the last heavyweight champion of bare-knuckle fighting, and, when they instituted boxing gloves, became the glove heavyweight champion for ten years. Lord, those bare-knuckle fights must have been brutal!

Here’s a short video of Stephen Fry extolling Wodehouse as the “supreme example of the master writer”. Fry, of course, played Jeeves to Hugh Laurie’s Wooster in a television adaptation.

  • 1905 – C. P. Snow, English chemist and author (d. 1980)
  • 1908 – John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian-American economist and diplomat, 7th United States Ambassador to India (d. 2006)
  • 1926 – Michel Foucault, French historian and philosopher (d. 1984)
  • 1920 – Mario Puzo, American author and screenwriter (d. 1999)

Here’s Puzo, whom I’d never seen before, but he looks pretty much like the guy who wrote The Godfather, and also did the screenplays of the trilogy, nabbing Best Adapted Screenplay Oscars for the first two films.

Most of the Carpenters’ hits were written by others, but this is one song whose melody Richard wrote (lyrics by John Bettis). Released in 1972, it’s unusual as being one of the first pop songs with a “fuzz guitar” (solo by Tony Peluso). Here’s a live version, with Richard at the keyboard and Karen shining as usual.  If you like the Carpenters, the whole 46-minute show is terrific, with a special appearance by Karen on the drums (that’s how she started) and a Spike-Jonesian version of “Close to You”.

Those who closed their eyes for the final time on October 15 include:

  • 1817 – Tadeusz Kościuszko, Polish-Lithuanian general and engineer (b. 1746)
  • 1946 – Hermann Göring, German general and politician (b. 1893)

Göring, found guilty at Nuremberg and sentenced to die by hanging, asked to be shot instead. The court refused and Göring cheated the hangman by taking a smuggled-in cyanide capsule. Here’s his body afterwards:

  • 1964 – Cole Porter, American composer and songwriter (b. 1891)
  • 1978 – W. Eugene Smith, American photojournalist (b. 1918)

I consider Smith the best photojournalist of our time. His photoessays for Life Magazine are classics. It’s hard to pick one photo of his to show, so here are two:

SPAIN. Village of Deleitosa in Western Spain. 1951. (Mourners)

“Country Doctor”, from a Life photoessay on the harried life of a rural physician. Here, exhausted, he takes a break:

USA. Colorado. Kremmling. 1948. Dr. CERIANI resting in his kitchen, after having spent the night operating. Dr. Ernest Guy CERIANI, a country doctor (aged 32), takes care of all the people in the town of Kremmling and in the 400 miles surrounding the town. 1948.
  • 2000 – Konrad Emil Bloch, Polish-American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize Laureatr (b. 1912).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Malgorzata explains Hili’s words:

Hili thinks that she is the guardian of the house and a ruler over Szaron and Kulka. If something is moving outside the window, it may be something that demands her personal intervention.

Hili: I can see a movement.
A: So what?
Hili: It’s likely I will have to intervene.
In Polish:
Hili: Widzę jakiś ruch.
Ja: I co?
Hili: Chyba będę musiała interweniować.

We haven’t seen “little” Kulka for a while, and she’s not little any more. But she’s still cute, and maybe shares some genes with Hili:

From Facebook:

Here’s a short video of a pelican trying to swallow a capybara:

From Fat Cat Art:

From Barry: A speeded-up video of a spider weaving a magnficent web. Remember, all this behavior is encoded in a brain the size of a grain of sand:

From Simon. I doubt that a cat would act this way! Sound up.

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. What is happening down there?

I can’t remember whether I posted this (I know I retweeted it), but it shows an awesome experience, not a frightful one. Right whales are baleen whales and couldn’t eat a human:

A tweet from the Actually, I said a “zero” today when I was giving someone a phone number.

The chillest animal in the world, the capybara, has apparently transferred some of its equanimity to a cow.

If this isn’t true, blame Matthew. Actually,it is true, as the BBC reports.

66 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. Jerry, hope your wounds are healing well. That orchid is a multi-generic hybrid. Orchids are unusual for the fertility of hybrids across genera. The main factors that cause reproductive isolation in orchids are not genetic inompatibilities but rather pollinator specializations.

    1. An orchid I’ve had for over five years finally bloomed, so I can see what its flower looks like.

      Hopping along here with question for PCC(E) – does this one smell of chocolate? A place I used to work used an orchid rental service (literally the loveliest thing ever) where they would bring a new orchid every week. That way we didn’t have to do anything but enjoy their splendor. Anyway, they brought one that resembled yours and it did, indeed, smell of chocolate.

      1. There is a famous relative of Jerry’s hybrid, called “Sharry baby”, that has been bred to smell of chocolate. Your rented plant was probably that hybrid. Smaller flowers than Jerry’s. “Sharry baby” is now one of the world’s most popular orchids.

        Renting an orchid is kind of like renting a cat.

        1. Thank you, Lou, glad to know I was remembering something right!

          Renting an orchid is kind of like renting a cat.

          In that we got to admire its majesty and not be responsible for trying to keep it alive? Sadly they discontinued the service to focus on their wholesale work. It was nice for the years it lasted.

          1. I meant that at least half the pleasure of having an orchid, or a cat, is getting to know it, watching it as it grows and develops.

          2. Ah, yes, perfect. As the recent haver-of-a-cat, I very much agree. Last night, as I prepared to start preparing dinner, I turned around to find him inside my large boiling pot on the stove. This was after he tried to help me unload the groceries, and before he snuggled the kiddo to sleep. As skeptical as I was about getting him, he’s absolutely charming and silly and delightful.

    2. Oh, thanks. I know hybrids are frequent but I was hoping, when I acquired this one, that it would be a naturally-occurring species, like the rest of mine are. (I spurn hybrids for some reason.)

  2. Bannon should fit right in with his orange suit working the roadside, picking up trash. His first real job.

  3. The House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection is moving towards holding Steve Bannon in criminal contempt, since he flatly rejected a subpoena to appear before the committee.

    The committee needs to bring the hammer down hard on Bannon and all other contumacious witnesses. Otherwise, congress can take its vaunted subpoena power, fold it up, and float it down the Potomac River out to sea, for all the weight it carries.

    1. I’m thinking Bannon will never see the inside of a jail cell. There will be appeals until the GOP takes over the House. At the rate things are going for Biden, that could be as soon as 2022.

      1. I’m sure that 1072 release can’t have been ine of the first popsongs with the”fuzz”. I’m not an expert but Grady Martin in ’61, and many others during the sixties, such as Dave Davies, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrickx, Roger Waters, Carlos Santana and many, many more used it.
        Paul McCartney (your beloved Beatles) is attributed to have been the first one to have used the ‘fuzz bass’ in George Harrison’s song ‘Think for Yourself’ on their album ‘Rubber Soul’ in 1965.

        1. Oops, i don’t know how that ended up there. It was meant as a separate comment.
          Note, I could bring myself to be reconciled with Bannon doing 18 month for contempt of court

    2. I hear that there’s some question about how aggressively Merrick Garland’s DOJ will go after Bannon, etc. Something about inciting more division. If so, I don’t get it. Considering how his SCOTUS nomination was treated by Republicans, I would think he would be interested in going after the whole bunch with a vengeance. Perhaps it is fear that such aggression would be seen as revenge rather than justice. If so, I recommend he receive immediate counseling.

      1. Merrick Garland is a temperate, moderate fella, both by natural disposition and by the discipline developed during his time on the bench. I also think he’s bending over backwards to avoid any appearance that he’s exacting revenge on Republicans for the screw job they gave him as a SCOTUS nominee.

        But I’m counting on our AG to take a strong stand to reestablish the rule of law when the time comes. I’ll be extremely disappointed if he doesn’t.

    3. Congress needs to throw anyone ignoring their subpoenas in jail for a few days, without exception, friend or foe. They have the problem of, having made numerous exceptions in the past, now being unable to make the general demand stick.

      1. Thrown in jail for a few days? Screw that, they should do what the Republicans did to Susan McDougal for not testifying in Ken Starr’s Whitewater investigation. She spent 22 months in jail, 18 which were for contempt of court.

        1. Yeah, that’s what’s known as “down time” — when the judge interrupts an existing sentence so the offender can sit in jail on civil contempt for so long as he or she refuses to testify (or until the grand jury’s term expires).

          A stand-up gal, that Susan McDougal. Crazy, but nothing if not stand-up.

          1. For some reason this reminds me of Meng Wanzhou dealing withe the “long-arm” jurisdiction of The Land of Exceptionalism.

  4. I seem to remember thta the use of O instead of 0 for uk telephone numbers was because “nought” was confused with “eight” in oeratore-connected calls, as most (all?) were then.

      1. True – and even Americans aren’t crazy enough to say “Hawaii Five-zero” or “Science one zero one”… or are they?!

        1. No, but “zero” is always used for compass readings, as in “zero-nine-zero” for due east.

          I took costal and celestial navigation courses from a retired chief petty officer from the US Navy, and he would pitch a fit if anyone gave a heading with an “oh” in it. To this day, I use “zero” when reciting telephone numbers or anything else involving numerals.

          1. Having listened to an aircraft-band scanner for many years (yes, airplane nerd), I don’t believe I have ever heard a pilot say Oh for zero. Count me a zero guy, too.

          2. Helmsman: “Sir, steady on course Zero Nine Zero true, checking Zero Nine One [magnetic].”

            Officer of the Deck: “Very well.” (Uttered with such gravitas.)

            Interesting terms in celestial navigation: “Local Hour Angle,” Sidereal Hour Angle,” “azimuth,” “zenith.” The necessity of measuring distance along a longitude line at the same latitude as one’s position. The practical problems of accurately using a sextant on a ship rolling, pitching and and perhaps yawing.

      2. I was given race number 007 for an ultramarathon between Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-lake, way back around 1995. (The 0XYs did a shorter race, the 1XYs longer and the 2XYs did 100km. You may deduce that the total number of runners was less than 300.)

        So I saved the bib, framed and mounted where I work at home.

        The guy who won the longer race that day had a good laugh when he saw it on me, immediately after crossing the finish line. Then he waded a short ways into Lake Ontario and had a good barf. No connection between the last two I hope.

        I attended the very first Bond movie back around 1963 in Manchester, UK. Never felt the desire to see any others.

    1. I wonder if it subliminally has anything to do with zero being two syllables and all the alternatives being one?

      1. Yes, you can certainly excuse their ignorance of birds.

        Also, since there is not likely a “flying mammal of the year” award, I do think that the Enzies should make room for bats on the ballot.

  5. Point of calendrical pedantry: ten days, not eleven, were omitted from the calendar in 1582 in those (mainly Catholic) countries which adopted the Gregorian calendar immediately. Britain and its colonies continued to use the Julian calendar until 1752, by which time the discrepancy had become eleven days, leading to public protests and demands to “give us back our eleven days!” after the changeover. Perhaps this is what PCC(E) was thinking of.

  6. (Pope Gregory XIII decreed the change, dropping 11 days from October, 1582).

    And I haven’t had a solid night’s sleep since.

      1. Not to mention the fact that, for much of the word, for much of the time, beets have been where the sugar they used came from. So I don’t see how that could be bad. Or maybe the problem was with olive oil?

    1. A couple of comments on the NY Times recipe page for the olive oil bundt cake with beet swirl support Jerry’s assertion (at least about beets):

      “We did not like this cake at all. Whipped cream helped it a little, but my husband almost spit it out. He said ‘there is something in this cake that doesn’t belong in cake!’”

      “A family member made this beautiful cake and brought it to our house for a get together. We were all excited to try the cake thinking it must be a raspberry swirl not beet. Cake rated on looks is a 10 and rated on taste a zero, and the zero is generous.”

  7. Orchid flowers last a good long time. After flowering is over, you can cut the flower stalk down to the base. This can induce new flower stalks to emerge, although it will take several months.

  8. Regarding the “Oh My God” particle, I just wanted to point out that 5.7 x 10^19 eV is equivalent to 9.1 joules! A joule being a kg m^2/s^2, that means, if I’m getting this right, it’s an energy just a bit shy of the kinetic energy gained by a 1kg weight falling 1 meter due to the force of gravity at sea level…and this energy is contained in or delivered by (probably) a single subatomic particle! Someone please check my math and my conversion factors if you’re inclined, I’m not as confident as I’d like to be, but in any case it’s an astonishing amount of energy in one particle…and it’s the single best proof that there was never really any danger of an Earth-devouring black hole being created at the LHC, since, if they could happen, cosmic rays would produce them on a frequent basis.

  9. Lord, those bare-knuckle fights must have been brutal!

    Indeed, they were. But the primary purpose of the 10 or 12 ounce gloves used by professional fighters today is the protection of the boxers’ hands, allowing the puncher to hit harder than would be possible with bare fists. The larger gloves with additional wadding used in amateur bouts and sparring sessions offer some protection to the fighter on the receiving end of a punch.

  10. Love the whale encounter video. Reminds me of an encounter I had in high school.

    I was sitting on my surfboard in semi-rough conditions, a few other surfers close by, all watching for the next good set to come in. Suddenly, just as a mediocre wave was nearly on us, a huge flipper broached the surface of the water close behind us. We all instantly caught that mediocre wave in an adrenaline fueled reaction and in a brief moment were all standing in knee deep water on the beach looking back out to see whatever the thing was.

    We didn’t see enough of it to identify it at the time, but it was obviously a large whale. We had been completely unaware of it and as it was right next to us it had done a slow roll breaching the surface. I don’t remember the details, but later that day it beached itself some tens of miles north of where we encountered it and rescue teams attempted to render aid. I don’t recall what the outcome was.

  11. The orchid – I see faces – faces crying…

    Apologies PCC(E), but I can’t help invoke some religious satire –

    1. After thinking this over, I find the above comment to be inappropriate. I apologize for my poor decision making. The orchid is, of course, beautiful.

  12. *When will people learn that vegetables DO NOT GO INTO DESSERTS?

    Similarly, nothing ruins a good chicken salad like raisins. I like raisins, I just don’t want them in my damn chicken salad. Similarly, raspberries in a tossed salad.

    1. I’m with you, I hate fruit in salad unless it’s a fruit salad. Waldorf is the worst IMO. I’ve had dried apricots in Moroccan tagine dishes that I’ve liked, but that’s about it.

      1. But Mark, hear this one out:
        Earlier this year I got to visit SE Alaska. One day we gathered wild strawberries from a field. Later, a friend offered to let us come harvest greens from their garden. With those two things, a wild onion, feta and a balsamic vinaigrette we concocted a most delicious salad. Paired with fresh caught salmon gifted to us by the asst. harbormaster we dined in the waning summer light under the cherry trees. I should mention, plentiful microbrews on hand – it was an amazing meal.

      2. Interesting. I like fruit, certain kinds, in all kinds of salad.

        There are exceptions to this, but as a general rule of thumb to make a good salad I like a bit of everything taste-wise, sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami elements.

        Something I might throw together with what’s on hand in my kitchen on any given evening, chopped romaine, small wedges of tomato, shaved onion, small sticks of fresh cut apple or pear, or failing fresh fruit some raisins, sliced olives, chopped pistachios, small sticks of a nice hard cheese like an aged gouda (grated just doesn’t work), salt & pepper, good EVOO and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Moderate amounts of all the fixings.

        But I respect your preferences!

        1. Come to think of it, a garden fresh tomato is so sweet it might as well be a “fruit” (even though it is a fruit, but you catch my drift). I once had a wedge salad with julienned green apple, and I thought it was a good addition. I like pear with cheese too. So I guess I have more caveats about mixing fruit and savory than I thought. After reading Hempenstein’s comment, I immediately thought of the Waldorf, and had to respond. 🙂

          1. Yep, it was probably the Waldorf that my mother would occasionally make for Sunday dinner that started me down that road. Friends will attest that I am a consummate omnivore. But combining apples, raisins, walnuts, celery and mayo? Gag!

            & cheese (esp a fantastic feta like I recently had) with pears doesn’t constitute a salad.

  13. That poor Dutch woman sure looks like Eleanor Roosevelt.

    Also, how did Hermann Göring manage to get a cyanide capsule? The version I read in a book about the Nuremberg trial (no memory of which book), that differs from the W’pedia accounts, was that it was at the bottom of his jar of face cream(!) that was with his personal effects that he asked for when the end appeared to be nigh.

  14. The Dr. Li Wenliang story is not exactly true. Li was told by local police not to spread rumors about the new flu that was going around. Almost the same day, ca. 30-31 December, the Chinese CDC put out a general alert that a new dangerous virus had appeared in hospital patients in Wuhan [I have seen the translated email, but don’t ask me where!]. Dr. Li, who was an ophthalmologist by training, had little professional competence to judge what was happening with the virus and its true danger. By that time, the first days of January 2020, many in Chinese infectious disease medical circles were aware of the new virus, so much so that the virus was shortly isolated and molecular biologists in Shanghai sequenced the virus and published it genetic code online by the second week of January. Considering that the first known case of the disease showed up unexpectedly in Wuhan at the beginning of December, 2019, mixed in with a seasonal flu outbreak, pinning down in 30 days and having the virus sequenced in 45 seems quite reasonable. Of course, without political interference, it probably could have been accomplished a few days quicker. Look, for example, what Trump did to America’s pandemic response.
    Today’s data on “worldmeters” gives China with a total of 4636 Covid deaths since the beginning of the epidemic, whereas 742,000 Americans have died in a population 1/4 that of China. For every Chinese killed by the virus, 640 Americans have died. Which is the medical dystopia?

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