The issue of China's food security is a problem that's been simmering for some time. However, as we pointed out back in January, "What we can be reasonably confident of is that the Chinese Communist Party, being a totalitarian state, is going to try to cover-up or minimize the situation to the maximum extent possible and even rather beyond credulity."
As we observed at that time with Corona-Chan, the fact that this grave blunder was being acknowledged and the public was not only being informed but enlisted to help deal with an issue, is a leading indicator that the Chinese government is scared of said issue. That proved a prescient observation regarding the beer-bug. This is why Xi's exortation to not waste food is so concerning.
On the face of it, one's typical reaction to troubles for a brutal, totalitarian, genocidal state might seem to fall somewhere between, "So!? We've got other problems....mostly Chicom problems.", and "feel good story of the day".
However it should be remembered that the Politburo is not going to miss a meal. Over a billion people will suffer and many of them will die horrifically if this famine comes to pass. But there is more to ponder than that.
'Fear not the angry man nearly so much as the hungry man.'
That applies to people mobs and nations.The politburo will do anything stay in charge and protect itself, and will go to insane lengths to alleviate, or at least distract from its people's suffering. China is a nuclear power...in possession of most of our manufacturing capacity. A short sharp war to distract from famine of capture some crops might seem like a good idea to scared officials holding angry mobs at bay.
As Seneca said: "A hungry people listens not to reason, nor cares for justice, nor is bent by any prayers, or pleas for mercy."
Keep an eye on this situation. It may ultimately be the most consequential of this years curveballs. And keep a month of two's worth of food in your home at all times.
There is some good news. Despite considerable institutional inertia and red tape, The U.S. company Moderna has sent off its first vaccine for testing. Human trials could start as soon as July, but getting it in bulk would probably take at least until the fall, if, in fact , there are no problems. Besides the normal pitfalls in developing a vaccine in a crash program, it should be noted that China did NOT allow other countries to collect samples from the source in Wuhan, so this must be based on samples the Chinese have provided and patients evacuated from Wuhan. How that may effect the matter is unclear.
"Disruption to everyday life might be severe," Messonnier, who is the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters Tuesday.
Messonnier said she told her children over breakfast that they will need to begin preparing for an escalated outbreak. Parents and caregivers, she said, should ask officials at their children's schools about plans for school dismissals, closures, and teleschool in case the virus spreads in their school districts.
Most of us will get through this OK. However, water treatment, power, and shipping require trained people who will probably spend a few weeks in quarantine, or on their backs miserable. Things could get unpleasant for a few weeks. Have some means to get or purify water, and several weeks worth of food, all the cold medicine you can store and and some books. If you develop breathing problems, then go to the hospital, but only then. The window an all the things except the books is rapidly closing.
Keep of good cheer and remember that despair is a sin.
Most of us will get through this as long as we keep our heads.
Gell-Mann and Other Things
In an earlier post we noted that there were a lot of coincidences surrounding the virology labs in Wuhan.
Well, today the news is that..
Oh screw it'
Let Tim Pool rant about it...
So yeah....some news outfits are now saying it came from a lab.
Note that there is no confession or direct evidence of this, but, unlike earlier speculation, which just noted the existence of the virology labs in the city and the virus modifying resume of the large lab's lead scientists, today's headlines come from a research paper put out for peer review. A research paper from a University within China. It does not appear to be on Research Gate any more but it exists here, at least until the Chinese nuke Niue.
While I knew there were two virology labs in the city, I was unaware of the fact that one of them was less than 1000 feet from the fish market.
I was also unaware that the local bats are hibernating now, the bats that carry the coronaviruses live 450 miles away from Wuhan, that no bats were on sale at the market and that bat soup is not "a thing" in Wuhan.
From page 3 of the report:
The bats carrying CoV ZC45 were originally found in Yunnan or Zhejiang province,
both of which were more than 900 kilometers away from the seafood market. Bats were
normally found to live in caves and trees. But the seafood market is in a densely-populated
district of Wuhan, a metropolitan of ~15 million people. The probability was very low for the
bats to fly to the market. According to municipal reports and the testimonies of 31 residents
and 28 visitors, the bat was never a food source in the city, and no bat was traded in the
market. There was possible natural recombination or intermediate host of the coronavirus,
yet little proof has been reported.
It's not just that it wasn't bats...it's that there WEREN'T bats.
Of course this is from a paper from a Chinese University, and these same news outlets were saying two days ago that the scrutiny of the labs were a conspiracy theory.
This should probably cause a reassessment of some premises.
Nothing so exemplifies how much we are like Descartes' hypothetical brain in a jar in the way we get info from our telescreens via the magic-smoke tubes.
More Effective Than Coffee
We've mentioned Coronachan before. It's a Bitchute channel that is aggregating videos from inside China that pertain to the Coronavirus situation. Some are collections of short cellphone videos devoid of context, some are produced by reporters and citizen journalists with meticulous citations and a very few are produced by the channel itself regarding the disappearances of various Chinese individuals who have tried to keep the world informed of the situation.
Sulphur Dioxide emissions from Wuhan spiked Sunday morning. It is being suggested to be likely that animals or people (or both) are being burned in great numbers, which precisely jives with what is suggested by some of the Coronachan videos.
Again, we don't know what we don't know.
Is this basically NORMAL industrial emissions for Wuhan and Chongqing? Could they be burning the animals at the
How reliable is this satellite info?
It may be that this is nothing, Zero Hedge is hit or miss, but the intensity of the Chinese governments response indicates that they are quite terrified of the potential this disease has in a way they weren't about SARS.
None of this matters now, because it's here, some of us may already have it and don't know it. It kills 1-3 % so while it's scary, it's not the end of the world, but it is likely to make this a really really bad year. Don't panic, stock up some food and keep your spirits up, despair and panic are at least as deadly as this bug.
Tenuous Data, but Worrisome (UPDATED)
There is a report in a Taiwanese newspaper that Tencent (the umbrella corporation that owns Blizzard) accidentally posted actual Coronavirus numbers for a few hours Saturday.
Tencent is managing the official info distribution for the Corona Virus situation. IF this report is accurate and IF the numbers posted were not a data glitch, then TENCENT is likely keeping two sets of numbers, one for the CCP and one for the plebs. This is of concern because the numbers posted were: INFECTED 154,023 SUSPECTED 79,808 CURED 269 DEAD 24,589 which makes for an interesting contrast to the official figure yesterday of around 300.
It's unclear to me if the dead are a subset of infected in this tally, that data point, of course, having a significant effect of the actual mortality rate.
Note that as per Zero Hedge, these numbers jive closely with the predictions of UK epidemiologists from 10 days ago.
Note too that even if one dismisses this out of hand because Zero Hedge in in the source list, the official death toll screencapped above as I type this has jumped by about 60 percent since yesterday when it was just north of 300. However, the 5 digit number jives disturbingly with other reports from Hubei Province.
Coronachan is a BitChute channel that is aggregating videos regarding the Coronavirus, many of which have been banned or have vanished. The BitChuter in question seems to be an interested layperson and is unsure of the provenance of some of the videos, but is up-front about that and is asking for info in that regard. The channel links to sources in the video descriptions when available.
The channel could have perhaps chosen a less edgy avatar.
Except for the I-10 bridge getting taken out, it's barely Harvey Jr. in Houston. The area of 40" rain from Harvey was bigger by 2x than 20" from Imelda. West side got off very light. Not that 20" (30+" actually) is to be sneezed at. Beaumont got hammered.
But damn, that I-10 bridge. If you haven't seen the pics; there's nothing left of one column but a few chunks and rebar. It's the lowest bridge over a major waterway that I've ever seen, too narrow at rush hour, and needs to be replaced with a proper navigable waterway span, i.e.: tall and no supports in the river itself. Second time it's gotten hit in 18 months.
Posted by: Ubu at Sat Sep 21 04:40:26 2019 (UlsdO)
The damage does not look severe enough to warrant a replacement of the bridge (perhaps unfortunately).
...the the carnage that broke the soul of the west ended. There was peace.
All those who fought in that war are dead, as are most who remember as children seeing everywhere the maimed and blind the shells and gas had produced.
The second, more well known world war that this miserable, pointless conflict gave birth to has likewise seen most of those who remember it firsthand pass on. A dwindling minority know what a real war, against a peer nation is. For all of the courage of the armed forces of the U.S. and our allies, we've been fighting foes that are clever, tenacious, and murderous, but nowhere near our peers.
The conflicts that threaten to visit us, whether our opponents be foreign, domestic or both are nothing like the War on Terror.
If these conflicts come to pass, they will find us on equal terms or starting at a disadvantage. This is an experience that few today can conceive of...which makes the actual war more likely as there is neither the institutional nor cultural reference for what a conflict between equals entails. We encounter no large groups of people with their eyes boiled out by Lewisite...
...or their limbs blown off by explosions. Even a later generation, with Keloids inflicted by a flash brighter than the sun has passed on, with their most poingniant testimonials having faded over time.
So there is, all around, much bravado born in the special courage that comes from ignorance.
Today is the 100th anniversary of an armistice that ended a terrible war. We would do well to remember not the victory parades, but why people had them and what they were celebrating the end of.
War is a dreadful thing.
Of course Auschwitz and Dachau stand in mute testimony to the fact that war is, sometimes, VERY necessary. But we should look honestly at how perfectly dreadful a war between peers is, lest we step into the breach unnecessarily as the west did 104 years ago.
Yikes! (Multiple Updates)
It appears that the tallest dam in the United States is about to fail. Evacuations have been ordered for 60,000 people. The Weather Channel briefly interrupted its ZOMG! THERE'S A BLIZZARD IN THE NORTHEASTERN U.S. IN FEBRUARY!1!! coverage to mention that there is a major issue with the evacuation due to an issue with the roads, though it is unclear what this issue is. Aside from that brief mention, I see nothing on any of the cable news networks which are running perecorded talking heads shows, prison dramas, The Grammys or Anthony Bourdain.
Of course, given the general unaccountability of government, it's unlikely we'll ever know any of the people personally responsible for nixing the needed repairs of the spillway...oh wait:
A filing on May 26, 2006, by Thomas Berliner, an attorney for the State Water Contractors, and Douglas Adamson, an attorney for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, discounted the risk. It urged FERC to reject the request to require that the emergency spillway be armored, a job that would have cost tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars.
In fairness to these two numbnuts, the many issues with infrastructure maintenance are not limited to unseriousness, corruption and the stupidity of bureaucracies...There's malice too!
For a bit over a decade there has been a movement amongst the environmentalists to remove dams note this article which celebrates the removal of dams throughout the U.S.. Remember, these are the same people who demand that we generate power without burning fossil fuels, so their hostility to the only reliable and scalable non combustible, non fissionable energy source indicates...something...(In fairness it could be madness, malice, a lack of reading comprehension or stupidity)
Note too that the recent drought in California was not helped by a lack of reservoirs.
...but we've got lots of money for "high-speed" rail!
Posted by: J Greely at Sun Feb 12 23:57:40 2017 (tgyIO)
On the plus side, the dam itself is not in danger (yet). Just the spillway. So it could drown a few small towns, but it won't wash Sacramento into the ocean.
Speaking as someone whose home was destroyed by floodwaters and government incompetence (but, strangely, mostly by floodwaters), it still sucks mightily. Prayers for the Orovillians & their neighbors.
Posted by: Mikeski at Mon Feb 13 00:15:40 2017 (TXZ1v)
If I had to guess, I'd guess "too many people evacuating on roads not designed for that volume."
Also, haven't Californicans been going on for years about how they want to get rid of all the dams? Apparently Mother Nature has decided to help them out.
Posted by: Rick C at Mon Feb 13 09:41:35 2017 (ECH2/)
Posted by: Mikeski at Mon Feb 13 17:07:35 2017 (TXZ1v)
My cynical take is that it's late in the evening on a weekend so everyone would rather run the pre-recorded crud rather than actually cover actual news. And they figured "everyone" was watching the Grammys anyway.
I have similar issues with The Weather Channel whenever bad weather is happening in "flyover" country. If it affects me where I live, unless it's truly catastrophic (i.e.: deaths), it's ignored, but when it affects "the people that really matter" (on a coast) then they break in to the re-runs of whatever the heck the "reality" or pseudo-science shows they run in the evening.
It doesn't look quite as bad as it did at first (the first stories I saw), but earthen-core dams are always a worry if they start to weaken....
Posted by: fillyjonk at Mon Feb 13 18:36:22 2017 (8Ov9m)
This is the most powerful hurricane in history and is about to absolutely nail Manzanillo and Puerto Valarta as well as do a lot of damage to Guadalajara. Worse, the west coast of the USM rarely gets hit by hurricanes, so a lot of the people there have no appreciation for what these storms can do.
The flooding in Mexico is likely to be biblical when it hits the West Sierra Madre and again when it passes over the Eastern Sierra Madre but it will still be bad when it reaches Texas, where they are talking about 8-12 inches in Houston, which has already been hit by flooding this week and is thoroughly saturated.
Hopefully, Ubu and Avatar are not in the low areas.
Funny enough, I'm in Austin. Passed by the zoo, where a hastily-constructed ark was boarding...
Posted by: Avatar at Sat Oct 24 00:54:15 2015 (uqekF)
According to radar it's not reaching as far to the northwest as the forecast shows. Rain is staying well south of Midland and isn't really reaching the panhandle. Still, we've got pretty strong winds today, and heavy cloud cover.
Posted by: Ben at Sat Oct 24 08:50:55 2015 (DRaH+)
How Far Can He Go? How Long Will He Stay Free?
The videos of the massive explosion in Tianjin keep getting pulled from the internet. However, one brave reporter, a He Xiaoxin, DID get into the affected area and took some pictures. I don't expect this report to remain up much longer, but I'm linking to it. I'm also posting his pictures below the fold to save them from the inevitable purge. I don't normally nick more than one pic from a news article and clearly identify the source via hyperlink and I certainly don't make a habit of nicking all the picture from a photo essay because that is, frankly, WRONG.
However, the likelihood of his work being bering deemed triggering to the Chinese government and sent down the memory hole moves me to do this. Fortunately, He Xiaoxin has extensively watermarked his work. If one reposts any of these, PLEASE make sure to credit He Xiaoxin and The China Digital Times. Also do read his whole article, not only to give the paper hits but because his text provides valuable context.
However, if the article is gone then click on "more" and behold...the effects of a quarter kiloton blast....
Snowflakes Can Help Spread Ebola!?
Actually, they have to be precious, special ones.
The nurse who was quarantined after returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa has given the State of Maine until Thursday to let her move freely, setting up what could be a test case of whether state quarantines are legal.
This is quite troubling. Ebola is not an unmanageable problem as Senegal and Nigeria have shown, but it is not to be trifled with.
It is said that doctors make the worst patients. Miss Hickox and her colleague in New York, (who lied to authorities about breaking quarantine ) are doing nothing to contradict that notion.
The reason we have coercive, non-voluntary quarantines is that we have learned through 4,000 years of recorded human history that people will not voluntarily self-quarantine, and will in fact act irrationally as willing agents of plague.
It bears repeating that Ebola spread to Nigeria, and very nearly Minnesota because an American named Patrick Sawyer decided that quarantine ought not to apply to his own special self. One of the problems America faces is a class of people who believe that they are above the laws they set for others. In the case of these doctors such aristocratic self indulgence could make a manageable problem a catastrophe. This would not be the first time political pressure screwed up a public health response, but it is far less excusable since this disease is far easier to screen for.
The thing I like MOST about the United States is that the hypocrisy and sense of entitlement that some of its doctors have are almost indistinguishable from negligence and stupidity!
In other news: It appears that Ebola Tan's pet skull is named Wilhelm. How this information might be of use is unclear to me at this time.
Foley seems to have been quite highly regarded. A brief excerpt of a 2011 interview with him can be seen from 00:33 to 01:58 here.
It should be noted that the executioner has a British accent, which is not entirely surprising, but is worrisome. Likewise, the fact that Sotloff was taken prisoner in Libya and transported to Iraq indicates an impressive reach and logistical capability by ISIS.
The situation in the Ukraine has taken a hopeful turn as Russian and Ukrainian leaders representatives are set to meet negotiations next week. This comes as Ukrainian forces seem to be getting the better of the secessionists. This is a conflict with some very nasty ethnic components, so a diplomatic solution would be most welcome.
In related news; Apparently there is a group of American volunteers/mercenaries fighting with the Ukrainians and one of them was just killed.
On the Ebola front, the experimental drug tested on the three missionaries from the US and Spain looks promising. While the Spanish patient died, the two American aid workers seem to be recovering. The few remaining samples have been sent to Liberia, but the drug takes a long time to make, and there are regulatory hurdles. However, accelerated testing is being done of this and other vaccines.
While all this is going on the military is downsizing. That's not necessarily a dreadful mistake as there is a good bit of waste in the Pentagon. Particularly in the Army, after 10 years of war, one might well consider it good to weed out the people who in that time avoided combat and promote those who displayed out of the box thinking in time of war. One might especially want to retain those with awards for valor. Well, if one thinks that, then one is not in charge of the current downsizing process....
This is terrifying:
The derogatory information didn't have to be recent. Got a GOMOR as a 2nd Lieutenant for Dumb LT Tricks, eight years ago? Kiss your ass goodbye. Got an Article 15 as a private before soldiering your way back into the Army's good graces, and then getting a ROTC scholarship? You're gone.
A non-GO Memorandum Of Reprimand was also a career killer, if you got it for something the Chief of Staff doesn't like - like carrying a personally owned weapon. That sent one combat-vet with a Purple Heart to the Dreaded Private Sector.
Being overweight, or looking overweight in your photo: killer.
A more trivial career killer, but one the board actually used: having your official DA photo in the old Army Green service uniform, not the new blue Army Service Uniform.
Purple hearts and bronze stars seem to have no effect on ones assessment. Having no combat experience is NOT a demerit. This is how you build an Army of bureaucratic wienies. It is how third world dictators set up their armies, with yes-men and those who fear above all taking a chance or trying new things.
As to Ferguson itself...it's probably good to withhold judgement until the facts of the shooting are made public later this week. Like so many recent news stories most of the initial reports were wrong, and that trend seems to continue nightly. The near nightly looting, is, of course, unacceptable and ( conversely) there are many concerns, not unfounded, regards the militarization of police forces. However, I urge you to read Tamara K's thoughts on the issue in full. It makes no judgments but provides important historical perspective.
Finally, it should be mentioned that there is another demonstration taking place by individuals who are fed up and seek respect from the police. For some reason, despite being in the media mecca of New York, this is not garnering a lot of coverage...
100 Years Ago Today
The whole situation in Europe had been deteriorating since the 28th, but there had been an ephemeral moment of hope on August first, whe King George V himself had intervened and was exchanging telegrams with his cousins the Kaiser and the Tsar. There appeared to be some conciliation possible but a report that Russian troops had crossed the Austrian frontier invoked a declaration of war by Germany, While all this was going on Belgium was being discretely asked if they would mind terribly if a million or so German troops were to just, kind of pass through their country...for some reason.
Over the next 24 hours, German troops entered Russia's Polish territory, a German cruiser squadron bombarded the baltic town of Libau and German troops just kind of showed up in Luxembourg Significantly, that night. there were reports of German troops as far as 10 miles inside France and French border guards being killed.
The next day, August 3rd, German aircraft bombed the French city of Lune'ville. Belgium responded to Germany's inquiries with an emphatic "NO!". They then invoked their treaty with the British Empire and requested that London help them preserve their sovereignty. The British responded with a n order for full mobilization.
Then as German and Russian troops engaged each other on the Polish/Prussian frontier Germany declared war upon France.
With that, Hell descended upon Europe, and a catastrophe that the world has never fully recovered from began in earnest, 100 years ago today.
Emperor Franz Joseph of the Austrio-Hungarian Empire was reasonably satisfied with the Serbian response to his governments demands and ordered the Serbian Chief of Staff to be released with apologies. On the same day and perhaps in response to this act, his Army Chief of Staff and Foreign Minister quietly exchanged letters
Berchtold: "We should like to deliver the declaration of war on Serbia as soon as possible so as to put an end to diverse influences. When do you want the declaration of war? Conrad: Only when we have progressed far enough for operations to begin immediately—on approximately August 12th. Berchtold: "The diplomatic situation will not hold as long as that.” [/quote]
....Meanwhile, the diplomatic heads of both Austria and Russia rejected an offer by Sir Edward Grey (the British Foreign Minister) to mediate the dispute.
In July of 1914, the British Royal Navy was conducting a reserve mobilization drill. This once in a decade endeavor involved calling up reservists and bringing old ships out of reserve, getting them seaworthy and conducting training maneuvers with the active navy which was largely recalled to home waters for the affair. This drill was scheduled to end on July 26th, however, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, ordered all hands to stand fast and the fleet to not disperse as planned. From this moment the RN was on a full war footing, something that would normally have taken months to achieve.
100 Years Ago Today
Austria-Hungary turned down a Russian proposal to extend the deadline on the terms previously presented to Serbia. Serbia, to everyone's astonishment, agreed to nearly all the humiliating demands by 5:58pm on the 25th. However they did not accede to the demand that Austria-Hungary be given legal jurisdiction and arrest powers inside Serbia's border. Their response was otherwise humble to the point of groveling. At 6:30pm, the Austrio-Hungarian consulate evacuated their embassy in Belgrade. The Serbian Chief of staff General Putnik, on his way back from consultations in Russia was arrested that evening in Budapest. Taking the hint, the Serbs voted on, and their monarch signed orders for a full emergency mobilization. Most of their government then abandoned the capital and relocated to the more defensible city of Nish.
It should be noted that Germany's Kaiser was on vacation during this time, golfing cruising on his yacht and was only gradually beginning to understand the gravity of the situation. Likewise, Franz Joseph returned from his retreat where he had been since the funeral of his nephew. He was 84...in 1914. Though he was aware of the negotiations with Germany and the seriousness of the Russian assurances of their Serb allies, he was reportedly quite surprised at the harsh language of the ultimatum sent to Serbia by his ministers.
Businessweek has an interesting overview of the situation that mentions briefly the CO of the Ukranian naval base in Crimea. Massively
outnumbered he was offered the option of a commission in the Russian
Navy. He lives in Crimea,, speaks Russian, is an ethnic Russian but took an oath to defend
Ukraine until his enlistment is up or he is defeated, so he's declined
the offer and is preparing to defend the base (and I imagine get his
flotilla ready to break for Odessa).
They skated on the peace dividend for a while. Selling those hulls for scrap bought quite a bit of free medicine and subsidized natural gas (some was stolen, too). Now it's the time to pay. Everyone seems to focus on the brazen aggression by Russia, but Ukraine is in worse condition than the country under Putinomics, and was like that for a while. It's really no wonder that they cannot afford armed forces.