from peterferguson

5min read

Maurice Hilleman was a completely unknown name to me until today where he was the subject of a podcast I was listening to. Hilleman is one of the great scientists of modern times, who developed more than 40 vaccines over his career including some of the most common ones we receive as children. Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps and Meningitis to name a few. I guess being an (ex-)Physicist I had not come across this microbiologist's name, but the fact that he is responsible for so many vaccines makes him responsible for saving quite a large number of human lives. So you would have thought he would be more famous.

Why is it that such talented, hard-working and world-changing individuals are not more broadly celebrated?

Unfortunately, Hilleman passed away in 2005 and the ripe age of 85 after a hugely successful and impactful career in vaccinology. Though as I said, his work lives on in all of us who are vaccinated for the 40+ vaccines he developed. But what does any of this have to do with eggs? Disclaimer: I am about to butcher some great science and scientific terms, but here's how my simple mind understands it...

When attempting to develop a vaccine for virus via a method called attenuation, a live strain of the targetted human form of a virus is added to a fertilised hen's egg. Most of the virus will die because it is not suited to chicken cells and DNA, but a small amount will live due to mutations which have allowed it to do so. The mutated virus is nurtured in the eggs until it eventually gets tired of taking over it's host due to selection pressure (essentially runs out of resources to continue evolving, the lack of resources makes it weak). But just because it is now tired, and also suitable for chickens, does not mean it is safe for humans. So we can repeat this process until it is.

The balance we are looking to achieve with the attenuation process is; weak enough that the human immune system and recognise and defeat it, but not so mutated into chicken DNA language that the human immune system does not recognise it. Finding the sweet spot here is key as an imbalance in either direction could cause significant harm when then tested in humans. Hilleman was a master of this balance. Thus having a much higher output of vaccines than others in his field.

Back to the eggs though! Now we know that some viral vaccines are developed (still are to this day) through the eggy attenuation method. Which explains being questioned by nurses about egg allergies before they administer certain vaccines.

Many of Maurice Hilleman's vaccines were aimed to be developed for children, so were often tested on children. Whilst some of these children had been volunteered by their parents, many were institutionalised children being looked after by the American state. Without any parental sign-off, these children were volunteered by the state for these vaccine trials and other scientific experimentation. But this was the time that these vaccines were developed in, a low bureaucracy, lightly legalised period of time. A time where members at the forefront of science, or any movement or idea for that matter, were guided by their own ethics and principles. Of which Hilleman's were “Do no harm, and do good.”. As a result, no children got sick from Hilleman's vaccines. A testament to his talent.

This somewhat resonates with something I heard on one of the latest Joe Rogan podcasts with Moxie Marlingspike (Founder of the Signal messaging app), which speaks about the progress of humans and how new ideas, capabilities or discoveries often happen in private, on the fringes of what we know to be good/bad, right/wrong. If Hilleman's vaccines were not tested on Pennsylvanian children, how many lives would have been lost to these diseases?



from inquiry

Busy danged day, this one, starting with awakening just before 4:00am and just staying up for not being able to fall back asleep due to a sort of foreboding excitement over what we need to accomplish the next couple weeks.

Work was mostly okay.

An electrician stopped by the new house and told us stuff I already knew, but my wife needed to hear it from someone with the official title. He basically said “Sure, I do all that stuff if you have some spare arms and legs you're willing to part with”. I very much appreciated his candor.

Last night I had an odd almost panic while realizing in real time that my not being able to see the living room at times was due to flaps of skin that occasionally come down and cover my eyes. That might sound bizarre, but what I'm trying to type is that while I generally know that, it's different actually experiencing it whilst more intensely focused on it.

I mean... the whole seeming being a body thing... or seemingly being relegated to one... right?

I dunno. This here blogging thing feels somewhere between boring and pointless today.

Driving that was a stark reminder just how far apart individual conceptual spaces (aka minds) are.

What happened was that at some point in the basement with the electrician, I expressed to him an idea of my wife's, which he considered reasonable.. but she was grimacing as though it were something I'd pulled from my ass.. and then no more than five minutes later was asking him the very same thing but somewhat differently expressed... so I walked off to the other end of the basement behind the furnace, performing a couple classic “WTF?” gestures, e.g. looking toward the sky while shaking the head and mouthing “WHY?!??!??”, exhaling in an exasperated way.


A couple shots of whiskey, got some things done home and about, smoked a couple Camels along the way, feeling super subdued.


from The White Magician

Honor Thy Father And Thy Mother

Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother

Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother; there are a couple things to dispel the Fourth Commandment.

Think of everyone else on this planet; do not think about the real humans or the angels above us, let us think about us a bit.

I, Juan Mirieth Auriel, am imperfect. You, my friend, are imperfect. Everyone else around the world is imperfect. With “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother” in place, let us think about our earthly parents a bit.

Here is my example: I have an earthly mother (whom I will not name both parents out of anonymous respect) who has learning disabilities and can be very emotive at times; she is consciously asleep at this point until she willingly begins her spiritual awakening.

I also have an earthly father whom I do not trust fully due to his consciousness asleep and out of the possible, violent reaction against White Tantra should he discover my website containing sexual alchemy. As a result of the unbiased conclusion, both my earthly parents are imperfect and consciously asleep.

There is possibly no doubt that your “earthly” parents are imperfect as well.

Consider this passage:

“And call no man (earthly, imperfect parents) your father (or mother) upon the earth: for one (Yah-Hovah) is your [perfect] Father (Abba/Aima), which is in heaven (Urania).” – Matthew 23:9

It reads: do not call your earthly, imperfect parents “father and mother”. The only entity you can call father and mother is Yah-Hovah Elohim, who is perfect. As a rule, we do not honor or follow someone who is imperfect. Jesus Christ himself never respected men; verily in the name of truth, Jesus Christ always respected his heavenly father and mother.

The perfect parents that you always have now and in the future is Yah-Hovah Elohim. As Abba (Father in Hebrew), Yah-Hovah is Wisdom (Sophia/Chokmah), representing God the Father. As Aima (Mother in Hebrew), Yah-Hovah is Ahava (love – אהבה), representing God the Mother. As the result, Yah-Hovah Elohim is your heavenly father and mother that you must honor and respect.

What about earthly parents who are violent to you? Or what would you do if perhaps they are disiplinarians? We know revenge and violence are the wrong uses of willpower. When earthly parents are violent to young children, it is the crime of child abuse. It can also be child endangerment when violent, earthly parents plot to hurt or kill the child. If your earthly parents kill you, then your earthly parents will die in respect with justice. These things are not love; it is due out of fear. It is fear which drives one the search of security. All crimes are originated by the search of security.

Remember, your earthly parents gave you life. Give them justice, I say. Justice is the Geburah, which relates to the power of Mars. Because your earthly parents gave you life, let them live; this is balance (justice). It is written: thou shalt not murder. He who murders his earthly parents is committing the felonies of patricide and matricide, making him a thousand times more monstrous and more violent. He who commits patricide and matricide seriously lacks judgement, putting him internally off-balance. This is injustice. Why not balance justice by respecting your earthly parents?

The responsibilities of the earthly parents are to teach their children self-reliance, never to discipline them into clones or robots (or even obedient soldiers). The happiness of the house reigns with self-reliance, love, and justice. When violence reigns the house, the family is truly dysfunctional, abusive, and imbalanced.

If your earthly parents are frequently (or occasionally) causing problems in your life (not it should happen), your only way out is to disown them. Disowning them is secretly respecting your earthly parents, creating justice by letting them live, and standing up for yourself with self-reliance. This is never an easy thing to do if you are a child or adult (over age 18); it is only the last resort should your earthly parents stubbornly refuse to repent for their sins against you. If they attack you with violence, do defend yourself, but do let them live since they gave you life. Learn to forgive your earthly parents. In case disowning is not enough, you can file a restraining order on them.

In conclusion, “Honor thy Father and thy Mother who is Yah-Hovah Elohim”, so that you may live long in the lands that Yah-Hovah is giving you. Nowhere in the Bible refers that “Honor thy father and thy mother” resides with earthy parents, which the humanoids interpreted it literally. The Bible only refers “Honor thy father and thy mother” to Yah-Hovah Elohim who are perfect.


from Ronald Steegstra

Subsidieaanvraag bij ZonMw

Soms vallen dingen zomaar op. Gisteren opende ik mijn zakje chocolade kikkers en muizen en ik zag dat bijna alle muizen een gouden jasje droegen. Dat vond ik niet eerlijk ten opzichte van de kikkers. De kikkers droegen over het algemeen allemaal verschillend gekleurde kostuumpjes. Ik wou dit kikkeristisch noemen maar voor ik zo'n krachtterm gebruik vond ik het noodzakelijk om de waarneming te controleren met een tweede zakje kikkers en muizen van dezelfde zoete firma uit Leersum. Ik heb altijd een voorraadje chocolade beestjes in huis want het kan noodzakelijk zijn. Soms heb ik geen andere werkende verdovende middelen meer in huis. Dan komt het Leersumer noodrantsoen goed van pas. Rukken helpt lang niet altijd en ook een dokter zit soms met zijn handen in het grijze haar omdat hij het ook allemaal niet weet. Hij schrijft dan wel aspiritus, kwakzalf ™️ of cocaïne on the rocks voor maar daarvoor ben ik niet te porren. Rust en kalmte helpen ook maar lang niet zo snel als een chocolade amfibie. Uit de medicijn kast haalde ik een tweede zak choco beestjes van dezelfde firma en zag tot mijn grote verbazing dat in dit pak het merendeel van de kikkers een donkerblauw jasje droeg. Dit was dan weer erg muisistisch. In deze verpakking droegen maar twee muizen een gele romper.

U snapt wel dat ik me verbaasde over de handelswijze van de makers en samenstellers van dit choco medicijn tegen spanning, honger, trek, stress, verveling en hoofdpijn ontstaan door chocolade kikker tekort. Waarom zoveel variatie in het totaalpakket maar per individueel pakket zo bizar weinig. Nu zijn twee pakjes met choco beestjes te weinig voor een dergelijke dus niet erg stevig onderbouwde conclusie omtrent de handel en wandel van de kikker en muizen inpak afdeling van abs sweets. Vandaar beste ZonMw afdeling subsidie aanvraag wetenschappelijk onderzoek aangaande dringend noodzakelijk onderzoek over zaken van groot nationaal economisch en medisch belang dat ik u wil verzoeken om mij en mijn hele onderzoeksinstituut Van Voorbijgaande Aardigheid & Dergelijke VoF rijkelijk te steunen. Wij zullen dan ogenblikkelijk 5000000 pakjes kikkers en muizen inkopen en allen op kleur scheiden, aantallen optellen per zakje en in zijn totaliteit en van velen de smaak beoordelen. Wij vermoeden ook dat een kikker in een geel jasje meer effect heeft op het geestelijk wel bevinden van de kikker etende dan een kikker in een roze jasje. Niet enkel dat wij achten het meer dan waarschijnlijk dat een kikker de stemming beter maakt maar een muis juist niet, een opkikker en een neermuis. Wij moeten dit echter wel kunnen testen en daarvoor hebben wij nogmaals geld nodig om o.a. 600000 geel gejaste kikkers plus muizen en 600000 roze geklede muizen plus kikkers te kopen.

We willen dit onderzoek namelijk groots opzetten en wel in de hele gemeente Westerkwartier. Hopelijk wilt u ons steunen bij dit belangrijke onderzoek. Wij hebben al veel positieve reacties gekregen met betrekking op onze plannen alleen weinig mensen zijn bereidt om ons financieel te supporten. Ze kijken liever eerst de gelaarsde kat uit de toverballenboom. Jullie van ZonMw lijken heel geschikt om ons te helpen. Zeker omdat jullie al zoveel steun bieden bij baanbrekend en vernieuwend onderzoek in de sector snoepgoed en geestelijk welzijn. Bij deze sturen wij u onze hele werkplan tot in de perfectie beschreven op de achterkant van een bierfiltje. Wij hopen dat u ons net zo serieus neemt als wij u.

Met wetenschappelijke groeten Ronald Steegstra.


from acererak

Day 40

Cask of wine, sitting in the sun A vine of grapes stretches out To feed on the life of the fallen

Just figured its been way to long since writing and I needed to just write something. I always forget how quickly November and December go.

100DaysToOffload, visit and write more



from Mardy's Poetry

sputty putty bitter butter no good in the fridge spit that shit out get it out purge it now lucky if you survive icky picky mother fucker singing choruses in my brain blegh oh god it comes right out on the floor in the car in the grass everywhere i go spit spit spit tricky tricky tricks can't trust the ones who feed me not today


from Mardy's Poetry

what about love:

it's all about love says god from above it's all about the water air fire sun earth the mushrooms it all comes from love says the god that i know the one in my chest the one in my soul we both seem to agree that love shall make one free if only it were that easy.


from Cues

By Bryan Kehua

Rushing ideas and struggling at the cliff face for even the faintest glimmer of inspiration are both alternate and common facets of my writing experience. These are also disproportionately influenced by whatever mood I find myself in. Through both journalling and creative writing, I find both extremes have been my experience. Journalling can see me write pages and pages or it can be that I sit in front of the book with nothing to add. The same has been true for my writing in more creative senses.

At times, inspiration comes at the most inconvenient of times. I can get this great idea in middle of my work day and by the time I get space to act on it, I have forgotten all but a vaporous waft of what the idea was.

Writing is a cathartic release of all that I am frightened of in myself. Many of the characters who appear in my short stories are modeled on the inner fears and terrors that I find in my own soul and heart. This is actually a good thing for a budding horror writer, in my opinion. Where once I depended on long distance running to cope with the inner turmoils at some superficial level, the writing that I do allows me to expunge the darkness that lurks and seeks to overcome and overwhelm.

The creative energy is also a euphoric boost to the heart. The act of taking people on a journey that they would never have previously been on is something that is laudable and wonderful. In some ways, having you understand some, even a minuscule, portion of the terror that lurks in me is a healing salve to my own heart and soul.

Welcome to my journey. And thank you for braving it with me.

A response to the Writing prompt


from G A N Z E E R . T O D A Y

It's been a minute since I've found the time to journal, working round the clock on the art for an animated music video. The animation itself however will be done Paul MacLachlan, otherwise referred to as The Wizard for numerous legitimate reasons.

Also, I have another virtual talk coming up! This time for The Society of Illustrators together with Kickstarter's Oriana Leckert who graciously asked me to present with her on alternative comics' place at Kickstarter! December 8th the day and 6:00pm EST is the time. Don't miss it!

Work aside, the wife and I managed a short getaway to Austin over Thankstaking weekend, where we stayed in an utterly pleasant artist-run AirBnB. To enter the house, you have to walk through lush a glasshouse. There were many paintings of flowers and fauna, and chickens freely roamed the property.

A different kind of artist than myself or anyone I know. The kind that lives in the imaginary when we think of the term “artist”. Apparently, she lives and thrives outside of the imaginary as well.

#journal #work


from Mardy's Poetry

baby blue:

name my name and i'll cry for you but it's up to you baby, baby, blue - fight one fight and i'll die for you but it's up to you baby, baby, blue - stay the night and i'll heal for you but it's up to you baby, baby, blue


from Mardy's Poetry

sea sick:

sick i am sick see im sick see im slick see im greasy im melting im melding see im turning im wording see i am hurting see i am healing see i am sick see?


from yourNEWSpage

December 4th, 2020



Daily snippets

1. The India way is a book written by India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

2. Indian vaccines after phase 3 trials

  • The experts have said that India's own vaccines could be available “almost immediately” for public use after the phase 3 trials were completed and the drug regulator was convinced of a vaccine’s potential efficacy. Emergency use authorisation (EUA) procedure in India is similar to that in the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States.

  • Covishield is based on the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine candidate, ChAdOx1ncov19, and is being tested in 16,000 volunteers across the country. Covaxin has just begun Phase 3 trials and is being tested in 28,500 volunteers across the country.

  • The EUA is not an approval. It is permission granted to a company for a limited time to offer a vaccine or a drug to people to tide over a crisis.

3. Convicted legislators can’t be barred for life from polls

  • The Central government has told the Supreme Court that it rejected the idea of barring convicted legislators for life from contesting elections, forming or becoming an office-bearer of a political party.

  • The government said disqualification under the Representation of the People Act of 1951 for the period of the prison sentence and six years thereafter was enough for legislators. The Centre’s stand differs from that taken by the Election Commission, which endorsed a life ban as necessary to “champion the cause of decriminalisation of politics”.

4. Not using masks flouts fundamental rights : SC

  • People who do not wear masks in public and follow physical distancing norms violate the fundamental rights of others amid the COVID-­19 pandemic, the Supreme Court said. Bench also flags neglect of physical distancing norms

  • While expressing deep anxiety about the lack of implementation of COVID-­19 norms across the country, a Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan, however, stayed a Gujarat High Court order of December 2, which went to the “well intentioned but disproportionate and harsh” extent of directing people who do not wear masks to be sent for community service at COVID­-19 care centres in the State.

  • Justices Shah and R. Subhash Reddy, however, focussed on the intention behind the High Court order, saying the poor implementation and lack of will on the part of the authorities to enforce COVID­-19 norms was stark.

5. Lottery, gambling and betting taxable under GST Act : SC

  • The Supreme Court held that lottery, gambling and betting are taxable under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act. The court held that lottery, betting and gambling were “actionable claims” and came within the definition of ‘goods’ under Section 2(52) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.

  • A three judge Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan said the levy of GST on lotteries did not amount to “hostile discrimination”. Justice Bhushan was responding to arguments made by Skill Lotto Solutions and other lottery agents that the lottery was not ‘goods’ and GST on it was illegal.


Daily snippets

1. AQI in Delhi continues to be 'very poor'

  • The air quality of Delhi, Gu­rugram and Noida continue to be in the “very poor” category as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data. The Delhi government signed an MoU with Vidhi Centre of Legal Policy for suggesting legal reforms to fight air pol­lution in the city.

  • The air quality is likely to marginally deteriorate for the next two days within the very poor owing to calm wind conditions. The contribution of stubble burning in neigh­bouring States to PM2.5, a chief pollutant, in Delhi was estimated to be only 2% on Thursday.

2. ‘Carefully monitoring’ Brahmaputra developments: India

  • India said it “carefully monitors all developments on the Brahmaputra” river, even as Beijing said it was its “legitimate right” to develop hydropower projects on the lower reaches of the river. A State-run Chinese hydropower firm, POWERCHINA, is planning to build the first downstream dam on the Brahmaputra, known as the Yarlung Zangbo in Tibet.

  • Officials from the firm said last week that they were eyeing the enormous potential of the river’s “Great Bend” just across the border from Arunachal Pradesh in Tibet’s Medog county, where the river falls over a 2,000¬ metre drop before turning to flow into India. While China in 2015 operationalised its first hydropower project at Zangmu in Tibet and is constructing three other dams at Dagu, Jiexu and Jiacha, these are run-of-the-river dams on the upper and middle reaches.

3. MDH masala owner passes away

  • MDH Masala owner Mahashay Dharampal Gulati, 97, died on Thursday. Gulati, who was awarded Padma Bhushan last year, was undergoing post-COVID-19 treatment. Born in Sialkot (now in Pakistan) in 1923, he came to India after Partition. Mahashian Di Hatti (MDH) was founded by his father Mahashay Chunni Lal Gulati.

Opinion/ Explainer : Issue of procurement at the heart of Farmers' protest

  • The farmers’ unions want nothing short of a complete with­drawal of the recently enacted Farm Acts, which they claim will ruin small and marginal farmers.

  • Their main worry is about a possi­ble withdrawal of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and a disman­tling of the public procurement of grains. They also contend that by leaving farmers to the mercy of the open market, the stage has been set for large private players to take over agriculture.

  • The government claims that the Acts will only increase options for farmers in the output markets, that the MSP ­pro­curement system will continue, and that there is absolutely no plan to dismantle the system. There is absolutely no mention of either MSP or procurement in the Acts.

  • Importance of the Public Distribution System : The PDS is the lifeline in these States. Farmers in Punjab and Haryana are heavily dependent on public procurement and assured price through MSP. Nearly 88% of the paddy produc­tion and 70% of the wheat produc­tion in Punjab and Haryana (in 2017-­18 and 2018-­19) has been ab­sorbed through public procure­ment. It is conceivable then that any disruption to the system, real or perceived, will cause a ma­jor upheaval.

  • The government also needs the procurement systems : This is because of its obligations under the PDS and the National Food Se­curity Act (NFSA). There are nearly 80 crore NFSA beneficiaries and an additional eight crore migrants who need to be supported under the PDS. The government needs an uninterrupted supply of grain, particularly from these two States, to maintain the PDS. This year, due to the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the migrant crisis, the govern­ment has earmarked much larger quantities for public distribution – about 58 million tons of rice and 37 million tons of wheat.

  • It is clear that dismantling the procurement system is neither in the interests of farmers nor the go­vernment. Therefore, it is impera­tive that the government reaches out to the farmer groups and as­sures them of the indispensability of MSP-procurement system. The ab­sence of a regulatory mechanism (to ensure fair play by private players vis-a -vis farmers) and the lack of transparency in trade area transactions are two of the major limitations that need to be ad­dressed immediately also.


Daily snippets

1. Iran moves to step up nuclear enrichment

  • Iran’s watchdog body approved a law on Wednesday that obliges the government to halt U.N. inspections of its nuclear sites and step up uranium enrichment beyond the limit set under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal, if sanctions are not eased in a month.

  • In retaliation for the killing last week of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, which Tehran has blamed on Israel, Iran’s hardline-dominated Parliament on Tuesday approved the Bill with a strong majority, hardening Iran’s nuclear stance.

  • Under the new law, Tehran gives one month to the deal’s European parties to ease sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors, imposed after Washington quit the pact between Tehran and six powers in 2018. It also says the government should resume uranium enrichment to 20% and install advanced centrifuges at its Natanz and Fordow nuclear facilities.

  • The U.S., along with other international powers, had signed a nuclear deal with Iran in 2015 and both countries were cooperating in the war against the Islamic State in Iraq. Then came Donald Trump, who pulled the U.S. out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ( JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is called, and reimposed sanctions on Iran. Now, when Mr. Biden would assume the presidency on January 20, one of his most pressing early diplomatic challenges would be Iran.

  • U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has said he would return to the pact and would lift sanctions if Tehran returned to “strict compliance with the nuclear deal”. Iran’s pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani, the architect of the 2015 deal, criticized Parliament’s move as “harmful to diplomatic efforts” aimed at easing U.S. sanctions.

2. Cyclone Burevi hits northern Sri Lanka, 12000 people affected

  • At least 12,000 residents of Sri Lanka’s Northern and Eastern provinces were severely affected as heavy rain lashed the region while cyclone Burevi made a landfall on Wednesday night. The maximum rainfall – 279.8 mm in the last 24 hours – was recorded in Kilinochchi district.

3. Bangladesh begins shifting Rohingya

  • Bangladesh began transferring hundreds of Rohingya refugees on Thursday to a low-lying island in an area prone to cyclones and floods, with rights groups alleging that people were being coerced into leaving.

  • Officials said earlier that they planned to transfer around 2,500 people in the first phase. Rights groups alleged that some refugees had been coerced into going. However, Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen refuted the rights groups’ claims and said the refugees were going voluntarily.

4. US tightens visa rules for CCP members

  • The Trump administration on Wednesday issued new rules to curtail travel to the U.S. by members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their immediate families, a move certain to further exacerbate tensions between the two countries. The new policy, which took immediate effect, limits the maximum duration of travel visas for party members and their families to one month.

  • Previously, party members, like other Chinese citizens, could obtain visitor visas for the U.S. that were valid for 10 years. Travel visas for party members will also be limited to a single entry rather than multiple entries as was possible before, according to two people familiar with the changes.

  • Coming in the twilight of the Trump administration and aimed squarely at China’s ruling elite, the visa restrictions and the likely Chinese response will be yet another challenge to President-elect Joe Biden, who is inheriting a U.S.-China relationship that is in its worst state since the normalisation of diplomatic ties in 1979.

5. US to block import of 'slave labour' cotton from China

  • The United States will block imports of cotton that, it says, is harvested with “slave labour” in China’s Xinjiang region, authorities have announced. Beijing has come under intense international criticism over its policies in the resource-rich territory, where rights groups say as many as one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are being held in internment camps. The new rule allows Customs and Border Protection officials to detain shipments containing cotton originating from the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a major paramilitary group already sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury.

6. Speak for all religions, India tells UN

  • India has asked the United Nations to expand its criticism of hatred and violence against religions beyond the three Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

  • At the outset, let me state that we fully agree that anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and anti-Christian acts need to be condemned and India firmly condemns such acts. However, UN resolutions on such important issues speak only of these three Abrahamic religions together.” First Secretary at India’s Permanent Mission to the UN Ashish Sharma said.

  • This august body fails to acknowledge the rise of hatred and violence against Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism also.” Mr. Sharma’s remarks were made during a “Culture of Peace” session organised by the UN General Assembly. The UN has organised such sessions each year since 1997.

7. US Senate clears Bill on immigration visas

  • The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a Bill that eliminates the per country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrant visas and raises it for family-based visas, a legislation that will hugely benefit hundreds of thousands of Indian professionals in America who have been waiting for years to get their green cards.

  • The Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act comes as a big relief to Indian IT professionals who come to the U.S. on H-1B work visas. Their current waiting period for the Green Card or permanent residency is running into decades.

  • The legislation increases the per country cap on family based immigrant visas from 7% of the total number of such visas available that year to 15%.

  • The provision will facilitate removal of the massive backlog of Indian IT professionals in the US. Currently, there is a backlog of almost one million foreign nationals and accompanying family members residing in the U.S. who have been approved for, and are waiting to receive, employment based Green Cards. The largest number of them are from India.

India's engagement with her neighbors (Shyam Sharan, Constantino Xavier)

(i) Background

  • The engagement with neighboring countries should not be episodic. India should have a plan for continuous engage­ment at various levels. There will be an awareness that there is a price to be paid if India tries to always priori­tise domestic factors over foreign policy issues. India should fash­ion its diplomacy in a manner which does not give rise to feelings amongst smaller neighbours of be­ing slighted or marginalised.

(ii) The China factor

  • With China mak­ing a grand entry in the neighbourhood and the U.S. developing relations on its own with some of India’s neighbours the geopolitical dynamics of the region is constantly changing. The capacity of China to deliver on its commitments exposed India’s deficit specially in regions like Sri Lanka, Tibet etc.

  • Some­times India uses the security threat from China as an excuse to li­mit the capacity of neighbours to deepen relations with China or to accept Chinese investment for their own infrastructure modernisation. This might playout against India in the future. These nations will always be anxious about India and play out a balancing game. The focus should be on creating interdependence in this region that will give India strategic leverage.

  • The various connectivity in­itiatives that India has taken over the last few years in the neighbourhood, in terms of energy, interde­pendence, infrastructural connec­tivity, grants and loans, have all gone up. This is not just because India’s feel­ing more generous towards its neighbours; it’s because India is fac­ing competition from China.

(iii) The way forward

  • India should try and give ‘na­tional treatment’ to her neighbours with respect to the use of tran­sportation network or ports, and ex­ports and imports. The aim should be to be the best possible alternative in terms of the economic development of our neighbours.

  • In the past few years, India has been much more open to coordinating and aligning policies in South Asia. That has an advantage because it increas­es synergies among countries in the region with global powers like Japan and USA. Also, there is a possibility that global powers like the USA, Japan etc. are pursuing projects or activities that are not necessarily aligned to India. This could be a problem in the fu­ture.

(iv) Relevance of SAARC

  • Some experts believe that the format of SAARC is outdat­ed and does not serve the complex, fluid regional cooperation agenda any longer. Pakistan has taken a very different approach to regional connectivity, where it sees itself mostly as a hub between China and the Gulf or Central Asian regions, so towards the west and the north, and India therefore had to respond and seek to gravitate more towards the south, to the Indian Ocean region, and the east, across the Bay of Bengal with Southeast Asia.

  • India has revived BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Coop­eration) and worked in the BBIN (Bangladesh ­Bhutan­ India­ Nepal) quadrilateral for a framework on motor vehicle and water gover­nance, which don’t hold India’s cooperation agenda hostage to a consensus at SAARC, which will always depend on a Pakistani veto.

  • Some experts are also of the view that the idea of a fully integrated South Asia is something India should always keep in front of her. Other neighbours see SAARC as a worthwhile platform for regional cooperation. If In­dia is going to turn its back on SAARC, there could even be a possibili­ty of China being welcomed into SAARC.


Daily snippets

1. Economy on the path of V-shaped recovery says government

  • India’s economy is firmly on the path of a V-­shaped recov­ery after the collapse in the first quarter, and further im­provement is expected in the third quarter attributing the re­covery to the unlocking pro­cess along with ‘astute’ sti­mulus measures. The prospects of a second wave of COVID-­19 infections, however, remains the key downside risk to the econo­my

  • Arguing that inflation, which had risen to 7.61% in October, may have peaked, the Department of Econom­ic Affairs in the ministry said consumer price inflation was likely to ‘decelerate gradual­ly’ as base effects would kick in, and food inflation was ex­pected to cool thanks to a good kharif harvest.

2. COVID-19 has accelerated digitisation process

  • The report 'Future Technology Services – Navi­gating the New Normal' quoted that COVID­-19 had accelerated the digitisation process across industries, and tech­nology service providers saw a jump of 30% digital transformation deals since the pandemic’s outbreak. It further added that, there had been an 80% jump in cloud spend­ing and 15% in customer ex­perience during the period.

  • The report suggests that the world has leapfrogged on digital adoption by 3-­5 years in the last nine months. NASSCOM and McKinsey stated in the report that 70% of enterprises were looking to either increase or reprior­itise their outsourcing ex­penditure.

3. Aviation losses to widen to 21000 crores in FY21 : ICRA

  • The Indian aviation industry is estimated to report a sig­nificant net loss of ₹21,000 crore in FY21, against a net loss of ₹12,700 crore in FY20, with the industry debt level increasing to ₹50,000 crore (excluding lease liabilities) over FY 21-22, ICRA said in a report.

  • The rating agency said the recovery in domestic passenger traffic depends on containment of the spread of COVID­-19, willing­ness of consumers to under­ take leisure travel, recovery in macroeconomic growth, travel restrictions, quaran­tine norms, and recovery in business travel.

4. India can be a $100-billion PCBA hub

  • India has the potential to become a $100 billion glo­bal manufacturing and ex­port hub for printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) by 2026 – a key to reducing dependency on China, which is currently the world’s largest exporter, the India Cellular & Elec­tronics Association (ICEA) and EY said in a report.

  • All electronic devices from mobile phones to air conditioners derive their functionality and intelli­gence from the PCBA, which constitutes up to 50% of the cost of manu­facturing.


Daily snippets

1. Case for more testing in COVID

  • A paper in the peer reviewed U.S. journal Health Factors has shown a strong correla­tion between testing intensi­ty and reduced transmission of COVID­-19. The paper quotes 'the robustness of the relationship between testing and transmissibility is consistent with a known mechanism'.

  • According to the authors, around half or more of CO­VID­-19 transmissions are caused by people who are asymptomatic or who have only minor symptoms. Increasing PCR (polym­erase chain reaction) testing makes it possible to increase detection and isolation of infectious cases, and then to increase the numbers of their potentially infectious contacts who are isolated.

  • The paper also advances the theory that freezing mobili­ty, as in lockdowns, had very little impact on the transmis­sion of the virus itself. ­India, which had a national lock­down, and in countries such as Bolivia, Peru and Chile, there was hardly any benefit from the measure.

  • The paper advances a strong case for continuing with a high level of PCR tests, even as vaccines are rolled out. Quoting “None of the vaccines candi­date we have so far are good enough to eliminate the vi­rus. The vaccine will be much more effective if you have other control mea­sures”.


Daily snippets

1. 1960 Olympics decathlon winner Johnson passes away

  • Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin in 1968, passed away on Wednesday. Johnson was among the world’s greatest athletes from 1955 through his Olympic triumph in 1960, winning a National decathlon championship in 1956 and a silver medal at the Melbourne Olympics that year.

2. Frappart makes history

  • Stephanie Frappart became the first woman to referee a men’s Champions League game on Wednesday. The 36­-year ­old Frappart has already made history as the first woman to referee in Ligue 1, and took charge of the 2019 UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea. She also made her Europa League debut in October.


1. CLAT and disabled test takers

2. Article 32 and basic structure of the Constitution

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Sources referred to : The Hindu, The Indian Express, Live Law, Bar & Bench



from Nate Dickson Thinks...

I thought I'd reminisce a little about an album I just barely bought. Also I might do this once a month for a while, just to add my tiny voice to the signal that boosts the joys of Bandcamp Friday.

For those who don't know, Bandcamp is a great way to buy music more-or-less directly from the creators. The site takes their percentage for running a storefront and handling all the downloads and streaming and whatnot.

But once a month, pretty much throughout the pandemic, they have had a Friday where they don't take their percentage from your purchase price. You can see when that will happen here. They call it “Bandcamp Friday”. Catchy, no?

So I try to buy an album or two on Bandcamp Friday, and I figured I'd write about the albums I pick up each month.

They Might Be Giants!

I've loved They Might Be Giants since I was in junior high. I'm not unique in this, of course. And recently they put their entire back catalog on Bandcamp. So I'm filling in gaps in my TMBG collection. This month I picked up Long Tall Weekend.

Time Travel Back to 2000

Long Tall Weekend Cover Cover art is believed to belong to eMusic, used under Fair Use as this is a review.

Long Tall Weekend came out in 1999, and was released exclusively on eMusic, an online mp3 store that should have been iTunes, except Apple won that war.

At the time, I was in The Philippines, and pretty much out of circulation as far as music was concerned. I didn't find out about the existence of this album until 2001, when I was in college. At home I had dial up internet, so I had to go to the computer lab on campus to download a free song they gave away, Token Back to Brooklyn It's a nightmare song, and fits that feeling.

Our feet start running at a furious pace, and we can't get away. “Token Back to Brooklyn”, TMBG

So that was nineteen years ago that I heard that song, how does the rest of the album stack up?

So, I love the song Drinkin', a short and fun little instrumental track. Maybe I Know is an odd mix, sounding like a 1950's sad ballad, but sadder than normal. Older is the track everyone knows and loves from this album, and it's as good as you remember.

Time Is marching on! And Time Is still marching on! “Older”, TMBG

Overall I would give the album ★★★★ out of five. Because I like unicode characters.

Darren Korb & Ashley Barrett

Songs of Supergiant Games Album Cover I also picked up Songs of Supergiant Games from Darren Korb and Ashley Barrett. They have been the heart and soul of all of Supergiant's games, and this is a great orchestral collection of those tracks. I've played all of their games to the end, some of them multiple times (Hades is my favorite game ever right now), and I have all these soundtracks already, but I love these new orchestral versions. I give this album a Hammer, from Bastion or a Daedalus Hammer from Hades, your choice.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting 100 Days To Offload.

#100DaysToOffload 51/100


from Ronald Steegstra

De LOI zelf opereren cursus ; Les twintig ; De open hart operatie.

Welkom terug bij de LOI zelf opereren cursus. In deze aflevering gaan we u met boek en video assisteren bij u eigen open hart operatie. Heeft u het donor hart bij de hand en de scherpe mesjes, cirkelzaag en voldoende verdovende middelen? Pas wel op dat u zichzelf niet helemaal verdoofd dan kunt u immers niet meer opereren. U heeft nodig een mesje, een ijzeren gestel, hoge pijngrens, het donor hart liefst van een mens maar een varken of aap mag ook. Als het maar stevig kan kloppen de komende tijden. Vergeet naald en draad niet! U kunt eventueel als u wilt u buren of partner vragen om te helpen bij deze operatie als u dat een veilig gevoel geeft.

Voor de gewone huis en tuin chirurg is het nodig dat u op een tafel ligt dan heeft hij of zij beter zicht op uw delen maar voor u is het beter om het iets anders te doen. U moet wel liggen anders zakken u ingewanden een beetje vervelend door en kunt u moeilijker bij u hart, het is sowieso al lastig u zult toch moeten zagen in de ribbenkast, dat is geen sinecure maar aangezien u de lever operatie in de vorige aflevering goed heeft doorstaan mag dit geen probleem voor u zijn. U moet iets hoger overeind liggen en dan letten op de spiegel voor u, dat maakt het opereren van uw hart een stuk makkelijker. Ieder deel heeft zo zijn eigen beste houding, u weet vast nog wel hoe verdomde lastig die sluitspier operatie was. Gelukkig weet u Inmiddels hoe u in spiegelbeeld moet snijden, naaien en hakken.

Nou goed kijk nu goed naar hoe ik het doe. Ik ben voor een flink deel onder verdoving maar heb nog voldoende controle over mijn handen. Die zijn verder gevoelloos dat wil zeggen op dit moment voel ik niets. Dit effect duurt echter maar 12 uur u moet deze operatie wel binnen 12 uur afmaken. Dit kan ook best zeker voor een ervaren diy chirurg als u, u heeft er tenslotte al 22 operaties opzitten en nog maar drie te gaan; de neus poliep operatie, netvlies vervangen en als laatste de ouderwetse hersenkwab operatie volgens het roemruchte neus en haak model, een unicum voor de zelf chirurgie. Dat we dit allemaal mogen en kunnen doen is allemaal mogelijk dankzij de hulp van de diy medische industrie rijk geworden dankzij u eigen huis aan huisarts en al zijn medische verwijzingen en apotheek recepten. Helemaal top die mensen, vaklui.

Oké ligt u open, Fijn. Dan moeten we nu snel zijn en u hart vervangen met dat andere. Hopelijk is alles vers en goed bewaard in de LOI diy koelkast voor orgaan donatie. Kijk goed hoe ik dit doe. 1 2 3 en hop en 3 2 1 en hop. Nou zo doe je dat dus dan alles weer bevestigen met draadjes, de kleppen en kamers moeten voldoen. U heeft dat natuurlijk allemaal al getest de dagen voor deze klus, dit lijf project. Geen probleem met een puik hart zoals u heeft verkregen door u eigen sponsoren, crowdfunding en advertenties in de huis aan huis bladen.

Ziet u hoe kwiek ik erbij lig en hoe vlot je jezelf dicht kan naaien, had u niet gedacht toen u hieraan begon dat u zoveel zelf kon bij naaien en snijden, u dacht vooraf dit is allemaal vakwerk en nauwkeurig maar nu blijkt dat dit vakgebied niet veel meer is dan hak en snij werk achter een schitterende spiegelende façade. Het is nog leuk om te doen ook, straks kunt u hele familie opereren, zeker wel, scheelt iedereen bakken vol geld. Sommigen van jullie gaan ook de diy tandarts cursus doen. Hartstikke fijn mijn collega zal u daar na de afronding van deze les cursus alvast alles over vertellen. Vergeet de hechtingen niet en de ribben moeten ook weer stevig vast aan zichzelf en de kast je wilt niet ontdekken dat je nog een beetje los in de huid zit of dat een ingewand los rammelt in de kast. Het komt nauwer dan je denkt.

Goed dat was het dan een lange zit en u heeft wel twee dagen nodig om te herstellen van deze knappe actie. Leest u snel alles door wat u nu moet doen welke pillen u moet maken zodat het nieuwe hart niet meteen stopt met kloppen of u lichaam wil verlaten en dergelijke. Hoe vaak u moet reinigen wanneer de hechtingen er uit moeten en vergeet u vrienden niet te vertellen over deze operatie anders vragen ze u misschien om te helpen met verhuizen en sjouwen van zware voorwerpen. Dat is nu even beter van niet dat kan over drie dagen wel weer. Vraag aan u werkgever ruimte om het iets rustiger aan te doen, u moet niet meteen weer die volledige tien uur durende werkdag op volle toeren willen meedraaien met de rest van u collega's. Geef hun duidelijk te kennen dat u net een diy operatie heeft uitgevoerd en dat u iets rustiger aan wilt en moet doen. Ik weet zeker dat ze daar heel wat begrip voor zullen opbrengen. Met een beetje mazzel kunt u met dit overal in Europa geldige LOI diploma u collega's ook opereren dat is helemaal gunstig voor u werkgever.

Nou succes met herstellen mocht u even willen bijkomen kan dat maar u kunt ook kijken naar de keuken kampioen divisie voetbal wedstrijden op Foxxxport als u tenminste niet fan bent van een bepaalde voetbalclub want dat is niet goed voor u verse en meestal ook niet voor u oude hart zeker niet als u als enige fan bent van Almere City FC of niet als enige van Go Ahead Eagles want die moeten nu direct spelen meteen na u operatie, helaas. Ik kan u vertellen dat MVV heeft verloren dus dan hoeft u daar niet meer naar te kijken. Ik wens u een goedenacht en als u na deze operatie meteen gaat slapen zeg ik u


Of op zijn Onrust Barends Voor straks, lekker koese en morgen gezond weer op (dan word je later nog wel ziek).

from Kroeber

#000382 – 04 de Dezembro de 2020

Social media. Esta obsessão em falar dos media sociais distrai-nos da conversa mais urgente, sobre a sociedade mediática. Nunca fomos tão McLuhanianos. O meio é a mensagem. A única mensagem possível.

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