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Posts Tagged ‘China’

Today I am offering up a special prayer for the people in central China.  The “Three Gorges Dam” is one of the largest dams in the world.  It spans the Yangtze River.  It is at flood stage and has been going through emergency release procedures for a number of days as the area has experienced torrential rains.  Thousands are currently being evacuated for reasons of safety and have already been flooded from their homes.  If the dam should collapse, the effects will be devastating for tens of millions with the potential to reach 100 million.
For any readers who might say: “What’s China got to do with me?”  You should be aware that the central region of China is one of the main manufacturing centers in the world and they produce a significant portion of the personal protective equipment (PPE) – masks and gowns, worn by the medical staff and first responders around the world.  Even if the worst (dam collapse) is avoided, there is still a high probability of shortages and delays in the manufacture and delivery of PPE for the next few months.
Climate change, pandemics, global trade…  We really are ONE world and I encourage everyone to think positive thoughts / offer prayers for the people of China.
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On This Day In:
2019 Historic Contact
All Good
2018 History Judges Incompetent Presidencies, Too
2017 Our Confident New President
2016 Ways
2015 Be Happy, Too
2014 At Least Smile
2013 Comfortably Bound
2012 Certainty
Thinking About Fathers
2011 And In Every Level Of Media

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[Note: almost all of the “facts” in this post are taken from the Wikipedia article:  COVID-19 pandemic on USS Theodore Roosevelt .  The conjectures are solely mine.]
The story so far… 
Sometime in November / December 2019, a virus makes a transition from an animal host to a human host.  We currently believe this happened in the Wuhan area of China.  This is a new virus to the human species and (presumably) the host begins transferring the virus to new human hosts while in the incubation / infectious period.  Multiple people get infected and pass on the virus to others.  As many hosts either show no symptoms or very mild symptoms, this transfer can go on undetected for some time.  Eventually, the virus hits one or more hosts who are not able to survive the infection.  People begin to go to the ER and to die.  The infectious period is presumed to be two to three weeks long, and because we live in an age of jet transportation, the virus gets spread all around the world efficiently.
At some time in late February / early March, the virus is carried aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt by someone (presumably a crew member) and begins to spread to other crew members.  [The ship was ported in Vietnam between 5-9 March and the first crew member was tested positive on 22 March –  13 days after departure from Vietnam.  This puts the detection near the end of what we’ve been told is the incubation / infectious period (14 days).]  By the end of March 2020, over a hundred of the crew have tested positive for the virus.  The crew is between 4,500 and 5,000 strong.  On 27 March, the ship is ported in Guam and the crew is restricted to the ship or to the immediate pier area.
On 13 April a crew member dies of COVID-19.  He is the only one (so far).
As of 20 April, 94% of the crew have been tested for the virus, with 678 positive and 3,904 negative results.  About 60% of the people who tested positive did not have symptoms.  [Presumably, by now (18 May), the Navy has tested 100% of the crew.  This means we have an almost completely isolated control group for analysis.  Presumably, this is being done by both the CDC and the Navy.]
Sailors kept testing positive for the virus even after 14 days of isolation; some who tested positive had previously tested negative.  [It is not clear if this means “new” crew are testing positive after being placed in isolation, i.e. crew who tested negative but were put in isolation for two weeks because of contact with infected crew, or if it means crew who tested positive but showed no symptoms for 14 days continued to test positive, or crew who tested positive AND showed symptoms who were isolated, continued to test positive.  ANY of these guesses / conditions implies the isolation period (14 days) is insufficient to result in a “safe” return-to-duty status.  Alternatively, there may be “something” about this population – age and general good health – which naturally resists the virus and therefore takes it longer to establish in an individual host or which somehow otherwise extends the incubation / infectious period.]
In early May sailors who had completed quarantine began returning to the ship.
As of 5 May, 1,156 crew members have tested positive.  That’s over 20% of the crew.
On 15 May, five sailors on the ship developed symptoms and were found to test positive for the virus for the second time.  They had previously completed a 14-day quarantine and had tested negative at least twice before being allowed to re-board.  The sailors were removed from the ship along with some of their contacts.  Officials said it was not clear if these cases reflect actual relapses or problems with the test.
This last part is what I particularly don’t understand.  Mainly because it implies things (to me) which I don’t feel are being reported on by either the government or by the news media:
1)  Did the five show additional symptoms or did they simply get false positives on their initial tests?  Have the samples (all three at least) been retained and can they be retested with an alternate test methodology to determine if they were accurate or if the first test was a false positive?
2)  Was the test used initially (which gave a positive result) the same test as given for the two negative times.  Have these samples been retained and can they be retested with an alternate test methodology to determine if they were truly negative or if either or both were faulty?
3)  If the five crew were infected, isolated and recovered, who did they contact who might have re-infected them?
4)  If they were re-infected / relapsed, were they showing the virus anti-bodies prior to the relapse?  If no, why not?  If yes, is their level of antibodies different from those who’ve recovered but not relapsed?
5)  If they are showing the same level of antibodies as others who’ve recovered but not relapsed, what does this mean for the rest of the general populace?  My first instinct is that if the antibody levels are the same (or higher) as those who’ve not relapsed, we have a much bigger problem as this means we don’t understand the acquired resistance to this virus.  Either there is none, or the virus is mutating and re-infecting hosts – which is virtually the same thing as having no resistance.  In which case, “Houston, we’ve got a problem…
So, I’m left wondering…  Do we have bad tests or does surviving exposure fail to create resistance?  Please…  Somebody talk me off this ledge!   “What am I missing?
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On This Day In:
2019 For Most #IncompetentDonald Followers
2018 I Dare You
2017 To Republicans Who Choose Party Over Country
2016 All About Control
2015 Liberty Is Extravagant
2014 Always Remember To Reach
Have You Registered To Vote Yet?
2013 Ripples From The Water’s Edge
Because I Was Alone
2012 POI vs Reality
Dear And Sacred
2011 Chilled Again

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Below are two charts representing Corona Virus (COVID-19) fatalities in Italy and then the United States (below that).  The line on the Italy graph represent where the United States is now (between 500-700 deaths).  It also represents the projection of where we can expect to be in two weeks.
When looking at these charts please recall the Italian government called a national shutdown which is now going into the third week.  Notice the plateau at the far right of the Italy chart.  This shows the number of citizens who died is not zero, but the rate of deaths is no longer increasing.  We (the U.S.) have yet to impose a national shutdown.  In fact, if we do not maintain (increase) the shutdown we are almost guaranteeing we maximize the number of deaths from the virus.
The two following graphs show the COVID-19 death rate by age and then a comparison with the “standard” flu.  If you are young, you might be saying: “Well, it’s mostly old people dying.”  Yes, it is significantly more deadly if you are older.  BUT, before you say who cares, observe that COVID-19 is 10 to 20 times more lethal at every age group.
Finally, a chart showing the rate of deaths for the U.S. versus all significant occurrences world wide.  We are tracking almost parallel to Spain.  The problem is Spain has less than 50 million population and the U.S. has over 330 million population.
My suggestion is that you make NO plans to attend Easter services this year…
If we are VERY lucky, we will have herd immunity by the end of September.
We have a choice.  We can self-isolate…  Look after each other – family, friends and neighbors – while keeping a safe distance.  We are all in this together.  Stay well.
Chart sources are:  CDC (U.S.), CDC (China), Business Insider and MSNBC.
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On This Day In:
2019 Indian Myth
Did He Even Have The Courage To Ask?
2018 Nothing
2017 Approval First
2016 In Search Of Words
Day 2 – Blending
2015 At What Price?
2014 Intricate And Subtle Order
2013 Attention To Detail
2012 Aequanimitas!
2011 Consider This

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Any excuse will serve a tyrant.
  —  Aesop
In war, truth is the first casualty.
  —  Aeschylus
[President Trump is at war with “the truth”, “the Press”, and with every decent “value” America has tried to “stand for” for almost 250 years.  He will do anything (legal or not) and say anything (lying or even a rare truth) to get re-elected.  Senator Mark Rubio (Florida) and Representative Jim Jordan (Ohio) are “defending” President Trump’s publicly asking China to “investigate” the Biden family as a “joke” and an attempt to “chide” and “outrage” the press and liberals.  Let’s make NO mistake about this…   #TrumpIsACriminal was not “just kidding” when he was dangling a favorable trade negotiation / tariff deal with China in exchange for an “investigation”.  The President was OPENLY soliciting aid for his own re-election from a foreign power —  which is against the law   —  because he did NOT want his offer to be misunderstood (by ANY foreign power)…  We have absolutely no reason to believe the President is lying when he says he is willing to commit a Federal crime – when it is in his personal interest to do so – and EVERY reason to believe he is being honest in his criminal offer.  ANY Republican who purports to be supporting / defending the President with this blatantly specious excuse (“he’s kidding”) is being equally treasonous in condoning this Federal crime.  I won’t say they are “accessories” to the crime, but they are getting very close to it (being an accessory).  Senator Rubio should be ashamed of himself for initiating this “defense” because he knows first-hand how unfit for office this President is.    —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 Thinking About My Hil
Remember Your Duty In November
2017 Play Well With Others
2016 Surviving And Challenging
2015 On Destroying Historic / Archaeological Sites
2014 Magical Power
2013 How Awesome Would That Be
2012 Two Views
2011 Still Looking For Examples
2010 Giants Win Away 3 – 2!!

 

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X+Y” (2014)  —  movie review, released in the US as “A Brilliant Young Mind” (2015)
Today’s review is for the 2014 / 2015 movie “X+Y“, aka: “A Brilliant Young Mind“.  The movie stars Asa Butterfield as Nathan Ellis (autistic math genius), Rafe Spall as Martin Humphreys (Nathan’s tutor), Sally Hawkins as Julie Ellis (Nathan’s mum), Eddie Marsan as Richard (UK tutor), Jo Yang as Zhang Mei (Nathan’s love interest), Martin McCann as Michael Ellis (Nathan’s dad), Jake Davies as Luke Shelton (mocked math genius), Alex Lawther as Isaac Cooper (mocking math genius), Alexa Davies as Rebecca Dunn (Piano girl / jealous crush).
There is something called the “International Mathematics Olympiad” (IMO) which brings together all of the maths geniuses from around the world to compete on their respective national teams.  It seems China is the historically dominant power at this event.
Nathan is an autistic maths wiz.  The only person he is close with is his dad who dies in a car accident.  The accident makes Nathan even more reclusive / eccentric than he was before.
Nathan’s mum (the fish lady / maid in “The Shape of Water“) is not able to relate with her son and finally gets a piece of relief by shipping him off to compete in the IMO.  Nathan’s tutor (Martin) is himself a “failed” maths prodigy and slowly builds a relationship with Nathan and his mum.  Eddie Marsan plays the UK team manager who’s only concern is for the team to beat the Chinese team. Zhang Mei is Nathan’s “love” interest.  He slowly pries Nathan from his turtle shell.  Martin McCann is Nathan’s dad and is the only one who sees him as special and not weird.  At least that is how Nathan feels.  The final three main characters (Luke, Isaac and Rebecca) are other “kids” on the IMO team who are meant to demonstrate some other levels of autism or to act as a kind of alternative love interest.
Is this movie any good?  Does it say anything about math?  Does it say anything about kids?  Does it say anything about autism?  Yes, a little, nothing new, and I don’t know.
I really enjoyed this movie. I got interested in it a while back when I saw Butterfield in “Ender’s War” and thought I’d look out for any of his other work.  (I’ve seen the previews for this film and the bits and bobs available on YouTube and have been waiting for this movie to become available on cable or on Vudu.)  Now I’ve seen him in two very good roles and it will be interesting to see if he develops into a good adult actor or if he fades.  As with “Ender”, Asa plays the straight role well and the emotional role almost as well.  I don’t really understand autism, so I can’t say how accurately he portrayed the ending transformation.  My gut feeling was it was too Hollywood and not realistic, but that just may be me.
The movie relates math to various aspects of the real world: pattern recognition, music, art, architecture, philosophy and love.  They were not main points of the film though, so if you blink, you may miss a couple of them.
I don’t think this movie says anything original about kids.  Certainly nothing you couldn’t get from a half-dozen other movies starting with “Lord of the Flies”.  Yes, kids are mean and pick on other kids who may be viewed as somehow “different”.
As mentioned above, Nathan is “transformed” at the end of the movie.  I doubt autism is cured on the road to Damascus, so I didn’t care for the resolution / summing up.  It just seemed too tidy for my taste.  Apparently, the movie is based on a real-life person and his reaction to viewing the film was: I am a maths wiz.  I am not a rain man.  For me, to the extent the movie related Nathan’s love for math, I felt it stood on firmer ground.
Final recommendation: very strong to highly. I do have an “unusual” fondness for movies with even the slightest math / science / computing theme, so you have to take this recommendation with the normal grain of salt you take my reviews…   (LOL)  I’m not usually a big fan of hazy / distorted filming to represent the perception of genius, but in this case, it worked pretty well.  I liked the acting, the story and loose correlation of math to music, color, flow and pattern recognition.  I will watch it again in the future.
One final note: I got to see this movie for free!  I joined my local library (re-joined) and they have a pretty interesting selection of movies you can stream just for being a member of the library.  It saved me having to purchase a movie I really wanted to see.  They do limit my viewing to eight per calendar month, but it still seems a great deal to me!  Who knew??
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On This Day In:
2018 And May Never Be
2017 Don’t Forget
2016 I Was A Percentage Man
2015 It Waits Patiently
2014 Unknown
2013 Explaining Love?
2012 Echoes of 1%
2011 Salaam, Egypt!!
Where Do You Learn?

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Four days before Trump’s isolationist Inaugural Address, Xi made his first trip to the gathering of the globalist elite at Davos.  “We should commit ourselves to growing an open global economy,” he said.  “Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room.  While wind and rain may be kept outside, that dark room will also block light and air.”
   —  Xi Jinping
China’s Chairman of the Communist Party
Quoted by: Karl Vick and Charlie Campbell
In their article: “China’s Leader Vies For Global Dominance
Time Magazine, dtd: 17 December 2017
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On This Day In:
2017 It’s Even Dimmer When You Don’t Have It
2016 Inconvenienced By Degree
2015 Sincerity
2014 Prayers For Junior
Senseless
2013 Interesting Drink
Super Bowl XLVII Declared A No Bird Zone
2012 Smile
2011 Come Forward

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