News and links January 28 2021

January 28, 2021

A fellow blogger, maybe stimulated by the rising pandemic death toll, made her latest posts a reflection about mortality and loss. 

Many people die, unexpectedly, suddenly, in their prime, before their time, mourned, missed, remembered, or forgotten.

Ruminations about mortality and loss are certainly opportune now, though they would be justified at any time, as they address the fundamental fact that life inevitably ends with death. They also lead straight to the question about purpose and meaning of this limited life.

I didn’t want to comment the mentioned blog posts, because my view and the linguistic rendition of this view doesn’t fit into the social-emotional climate over there. But it is maybe fair to inform subscribers and readers here about my personal take on this topic.

I will make it short!

My view of the world was formed early in life, when, at the age of 16, after many discussions and considerations, determinism appeared to be the most logical theory of life. In determinism the world is cogitable as the endless flow of intertwined causal chains or as the interaction of forces, movements, factors in a perpetual dynamic (nonlinear) system.

Subsequently confronted with many other explanations, speculations, theories, and philosophies (for example the eliminative materialism of Churchland, Derrida’s deconstruction, and Wittgenstein), I became convinced that there is no absolute truth and that, due to our limited senses and cognition, we will never be able to fully understand the world around us.

Empirically developing mental models which help to improve our life and the lives of our fellow living beings will be the best we can achieve, but it could be good enough if these mental models indeed help us integrate harmoniously into nature and repair the damage we have done to life on earth.

Though personally I’m not convinced of anything, I respect deeply held beliefs of other persons and try to avoid confrontations. As long as these beliefs help reduce suffering and lead to a harmonious and peaceful life their views are as good as mine.

One last point:

In the face of death most of us will hope, that this precious life was not wasted, that this is not the end, that we have a legacy and an afterlife in one form or the other. While an afterlife in heaven or hell seems not particularly plausible (though one shouldn’t rule out anything), our legacy certainly lives on in our children, friends, pupils, and everyone whom we met and influenced in the course of our life. This legacy will be transferred from generation to generation in the never-ending flow of life and it will never get lost — as long as humans exist. 

I wrote about all that excessively:


Maybe I need a break and it will take a while till another post is published.

Richard Rozoff (https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/) wrote to a commenter:

I quit posting anti-NATO news items six years ago because of an almost total lack of response. 

And I answered:

Lack of response did not mean that your anti-NATO news were not read and that they are not missed. We are all mired in our complicated, digitalized, noisy, hectic, tiresome lives. 

Thank you for regularly reminding your subscriber that the alternative to peace is death.

Caitlin Johnstone wrote:

The unfortunate fact is that our society is insane, and its madness pervades literally every political faction to varying degrees. Marrying yourself to any group means marrying its madness. Instead, focus on becoming more sane, and then act based on that sanity.

Just blast off. Don’t wait for your comrades. Don’t try to pull them along with you before they are ready. Just blast forward into your own revolution, burning brightly and scorching the machine with your own light. If you shine brightly enough, the others may follow when they are ready.

This doesn’t mean you can’t organize and work collectively; you absolutely can. If you see people doing something you want to uplift, uplift it. But when you’re done, don’t stay and become a member of the club. Move on and retain your self-sovereignty.

Feline news:

Tis month must read.

Against all odds:


Environmental news:

The Anthropocene epoch is considered to start at the middle of the 20th century, as this is when a rapid escalation of various factors began to converge. Factors such as the use of fossil fuels, population growth, tourism and travel, energy use, water usage, plastic waste, industrial agriculture, CO₂ emissions, deforestation, habitat loss, and a warming climate.

The Anthropocene ended any illusions that we can carry on as normal. Indeed, even if all of humanity was wiped out tomorrow, it’s estimated, that the natural world would take at least five million years to recover. Which is why in the longer term there must be a fundamental reconsideration of how a significant minority of the global population live, get around, feed themselves and exploit other humans and nonhumans.

In short: We have to change, and if we don’t change voluntarily (by reducing our carbon footprint, by protecting and preserving nature), change will be enforced on us.

Agroecology versus World Bank and IMF imposed corporate food production.
Why not stop PFAS use now?
While experts from the EEA (European Environment Agency) publish nice sounding papers, politicians pursue GDP growth at all costs.

Economic news:

Global food prices reached a six-year high in December and are likely to keep increasing.

Digital feudalism.
Nice! beat the Wall Street gamblers on their own turf.

Pandemic news:

Portugal lifted restrictions on gatherings and travel for four days over Christmas so people could spend time with family and friends. Soon after the holiday, the pandemic quickly got out of hand. Portugal has for almost a week had the most daily cases and deaths per 100,000 population in the world. The country’s problems illustrate the risk of letting down pandemic guards when a new, fast-spreading variant is lurking. 

Health experts warn the pandemic’s spread across Europe is being powered by an especially contagious virus variant first detected last year in southeast England.

Coronavirus deaths in the USA hit a one-day record at over 4,300 in December, but deaths and cases in the US since then have dropped. Deaths are running at an average of just under 3,100 a day, still a world-high by some distance. New cases are averaging about 170,000 a day, after peaking at around 250,000.

At the start of the pandemic, herd immunity was estimated to be around 60 to 70 percent. With new more contagious virus variants, that figure has been pushed up by roughly ten percentage points — meaning more people need to be vaccinated before herd immunity is reached.

New variants with many mutations have emerged independently in the UK, Brazil, and South Africa.

Changes in the virus’s genetic code are called mutations. The new variant 501Y.V2 has acquired 23 mutations, when compared with the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. Importantly, 20 of the mutations cause amino acids changes and eight are located in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2.

When mutations or genetic changes are beneficial to the virus, they persist. The changes may allow the virus to survive immune system attacks or be transmitted more efficiently.

This virus spike protein hooks onto the human cell via the receptor ACE2 to gain entry into the cells: this is how infection starts. The virus then starts multiplying inside cells. New viruses ultimately get released by the cells and can go on to infect more cells.

The changes in the spike protein of 501Y.V2 are likely to enhance its binding with human cell receptors, allowing easier infection and greater replication within the host. 

New research from South Africa shows that 501Y.V2 also may escape antibodies generated from previous infection. This means that antibodies from people who were infected with previous variants may not work as well against 501Y.V2.

Antibodies created by vaccines may also not recognize viruses as well as before. At the moment vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are thought to be less effective against the variant from South Africa.

Private hospital companies make big profits, while patients die unattended.
The death rate for Nipah ranges from 40 to 75 percent.
Even asymptomatic cases usually have long long lasting lung damage.
Lasting symptoms are common.
The numbers may rise and it will be interesting to see how much can seep through media censorship.
Another new virus variant called P.1.
Media, technology, and propaganda news:


Imperial news:

The Washington Post reports, that “Covid lockdowns, protests, and election strife have led to record gun sales.”

According to the Labor Department at least 18.4 million were on unemployment benefits on all programs combined, in late December. The US Federal Reserve reports, that 20 percent of low-income workers are unemployed, while the Economic Policy Institute said the actual situation is even worse than indicated by official figures, estimating that 26.8 million workers have lost their jobs or seen their hours cut due to the pandemic.

Additionally (and conversely) more than 1.9 million people missed work in December from illness, nearly equal the number in April, the height of the first pandemic wave. Caring for children also diminishes the ability to go back to work. Absenteeism rates have reached as high as 25 percent, which has both reduced revenue for companies as well as forced them to offer higher starting wages to entice those who aren’t working back to factory lines.

The official Consumer Price Index showed an overall 3.9 percent increase in food prices in 2020. Meat, poultry and fish prices were up 4.6 percent and dairy 4.4 percent.

John Chuckman writes:

Dr. King, a man I greatly admired, was, of course, right, although few Americans then would speak in such terms, days when intense, unquestioning patriotism was expected.

It was quite ordinary for even the most minor critic of American policy then to be threatened and shouted down with “Love it or leave it!” The “it” being their country, the United States.

Recall that Dr. King was speaking in the early days of the Vietnam War, the most massive war crime of the era.

America’s deliberately-induced war slaughtered 3 million Vietnamese and a million Cambodians and left a lush and beautiful land a hellhole of bomb craters and poisons, including 20 million gallons of Agent Orange, and millions of landmines and unexploded cluster bombs.

Many victims died hideous deaths, as being burned alive by napalm, a substance which clings to you like sticky jelly while it burns ferociously.

Rapes and torture were commonplace, and there were many atrocities, perhaps the greatest being Operation Phoenix which saw belly-crawling night-time intruders into villages cut the throats of 40,000 village leaders over time.

America’s Vietnam War is rightly called a holocaust.

Dr. King’s growth, from a leader in civil rights to becoming a devastating critic of American government, likely cost him his life.

The FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover loathed Dr. King. He even had a secret COINTELPRO program to discredit King and drive him to suicide with terrible, threatening letters. I am sure a number of other power establishment figures had similar attitudes. Power deeply resents being embarrassed by truth.

Many regard King’s death, with its great many unexplained details and contradictions, as likely the work of such establishment figures who began to see him as a risk to national security.

Why would such people hesitate when America had become comfortable with assassinating foreign leaders quite regularly?

Such is the reward for genuine support of human rights and freedom in America, a place where only power and money count, and “human rights” is a line used in Fourth of July speeches.

Back to school, back to work.

Imperial conquest news:

New names, but no change in US foreign policy.
Ottoman empire.
Ottoman empire.
This is plain robbery and it should warn anybody against investing in the USA.
Tightening the embargo.

China news:

While China builds infrastructure and creates new economic partnerships, the USA continues to waste a fortune on its military and security service ventures, threatening, sanctioning, blockading, assassinating, and destroying in many places around the world.

New coronavirus outbreaks, shortages, and disorganization.
Record GDP growth is not, what nature needs to recover from abuse by humans.
Chinese exports grew by more than expected in December, as coronavirus disruptions around the world fueled demand for Chinese goods.
China has overtaken the US as the world’s top destination for new foreign direct investment.
From comment to this article:
If you can’t keep up with the competition, you change the rules of the game. Is this what American free market economy is all about? Trump finally revealed the US to be what it has always been, a sore loser. For decades, Americans liked to boast about how innovative they are, but now that there is a real competitor, it’s worried about being out competed so it has to throw a few road blocks in the way. This is desperation the whole world can see. Instead of finding ways to stop China’s innovations, how about America becoming even more innovative? Put your money where your mouth is or shut up with the hype.
Eric Schmidt said a few years ago he needed Chinese, Indian and Iranian PHD students. Best American brains are doing Wall Street derivatives to con people. Best Chinese brains are building things. That is why in the long term America will lose!

Uncategorized news:

Ugandan President Museveni arrests opposition rival Bobbi Wine.

News from cat land:

Snow and more snow, I never imagined that after several extremely warm winters we would see than much snow.

The cats are a bit bored at the moment, as a thick layer of snow has blanketed garden and forest. They are all here in the living room. Two lay in front of the stove, two on the windowsill right from me, one at the bass xylophone behind me, and one on my lap.

Lucia, my little cat angel, sleeps on my lap and she will not like it when I start writing, so I wait and compile this text in my head till she jumps down to take a look at the food cups. 

I assess and measure the severity of the pandemic mainly by the death count, and the numbers are frightening. There is no turnaround in sight. I don’t want to contribute to these numbers. Constantly incoming reports of longtime effects and lasting organ damage (lung, heart, nervous system, kidney, liver) are evenly frightening. A generation of ailing, impaired people?

The house is a fortress which no foreigner is allowed to enter. I even stopped the delivery service and intend to live now for some month from the pantry and the content of the four freezers in the basement. Just ordered some FFP3 masks to find out which one fits best and seals mouth and nose most tightly. 

These precautions may sound excessive, but I consider them also as a trial run, because the real big one, the virus which penetrates all barriers, could emerge every day.

Is this the chance for my personal “great reset”? After a long pause I started practicing music again and when the snow has melted and garden work begins in earnest there will be no time for sitting on the computer.

One comment

  1. I bet the cats enjoy the music, especially the xylophone! My mornings are also filled with music this season.


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